The Port Arthur News
PORT ARTHUR —
Amid squeeking shoes, thudding basketballs and hustle from kids looking to improve their game, one voice could be heard above all else, coaching the proper way to pass, shoot and play as part of a team.
Stephen Jackson brought his NBA prowess to Port Arthur this week playing host to the Fifth Annual Basketball Camp and Concert. Along with him is his myriad of experience from the San Antonio Spurs and several special guests.
One such guest, TJ Ford, was an assistant coach with the Austin Toros and a close friend of Jackson. Ford is in the process of creating a workout program to help athletes become not only better on the court, but off as well. He took time to travel to Port Arthur to support Jackson because he feels the NBA star is a great example of what he hopes to instill in a new generation of sportsmen.
“He’s (Jackson) got great character, passion and is extremely giving, especially to his hometown and community,” Ford said, while getting ready to head back to Houston. Ford went on to say that Jackson has a great message, that his own choices forced him to take the long route into the NBA but staying focused and determined has allowed him to see his efforts come to fruition.
And Jackson is doing just that, teaching in a way that allows him to transfer his knowledge of a sport dear to his heart along to a new generation by sharing his own trials and tribulations both on the court and off.
“This camp means a lot to me,” Jackson said in between practices, “My season ran a lot later this year but I had to come down here and do this for the kids, they want me to come home and spend time with them.”
Though some have portrayed Jackson as lambasting Port Arthur by calling it a “hell hole.” He is quick to point out that people need to understand what he meant when that was said.
“If anyone took it as degrading my city, then they don’t know me at all,” Jackson said. “It is a hell hole, things need to get better and I won’t be satisfied until that happens.”
Another point made by Jackson is the choice he makes to come home to Port Arthur during his time off.
“I could spend my summer on an island or somewhere else but I’m here spending time with my friends and family,” Jackson said, also referring to his dedication in regard to the summer camp he hosts each year.
Being a proficient hoopster isn’t the only skill he brings to the table. Jackson, aka Stack5, is slating the release of his new album Jack of ALL Trades in September. The first single Lonely at the top will also feature fellow baller Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder. And though the 2011 NBA lockout was a bother to many, Jackson seized the opportunity to spend time in the studio, leading to two releases titled Trillmixes and What’s a Lockout. So far Jackson’s venture into the musical world has received positive reviews
“I love they don’t expect it from an athelete,” Jackson said. And as for the offensive lyrics rap often contains, that’s simply not the way Stak 5 operates.
“I will never glorify gang-banging, selling drugs or demeaning women,” Jackson said. “It (Jack of ALL Trades) is a tribute to my city, the NBA, my wife and family.”
Another example of his commitment to creating something all ages can enjoy is the creation of not only an “explicit” CD but the recording of a clean version as well. Meaning that curse words aren’t simply edited post production but actually replaced by a “clean” word.
As for future plans, Jackson plans to keep playing ball, of course, but also plans to work on his other passions as well.
“I feel like I have another 45 years left to play and I’ll be playing as long as the Lord will let me,” Jackson said. “I will do music for the rest of my life.”
There are also big dreams for the Stephen Jackson Academy as well. Construction of a new addition to the gymnasium will allow the academy to become an accredited campus. Jackson guaranteed the project would begin before the end of the year. Along with academics will be an education in basketball.
“I want to have my own basketball team and I want to coach it,” Jackson said excitedly. “Maybe even lead it to a championship.”
The summer camp runs through Saturday, culminating in the Back to School Bask at Memorial High School, located at 2200 Jefferson Drive in Port Arthur. The concert, presented by Jackson’s record label Secret Society Entertainment, will feature Jackson, Bun B of UGK, DJ Scream, and Secret Society’s OTS and The HavKnots. Ages 15 years and older are welcome, with tickets being $15 pre-sale and $20 at the door.