November 2011, when I was 17, a week before our first basketball game, I called Coach into his office and I told him ‘I quit. I don’t want to play college ball. I don’t love the game anymore.’ I never cried that hard before in my life. I gave up on everything and everyone. I didn’t consider how many people I was letting down. I didn’t consider what I’d do next. I didn’t consider how I’d lose out on some of the most precious moments of every athlete's career. I didn’t consider that I’d no longer be an athlete. I didn’t consider that I had no idea who I was outside of the game.
Not a day has gone by that I haven’t thought about that decision. I still cry about it to this day. Shit, I’m crying now . For a long time after I quit, I despised everyone who let me quit. My friends, mom, dad, brothers, sisters, anyone I felt knew how much the game meant to me, I blamed them because I couldn't accept I let the only thing I knew go. I sacrificed my future because of some momentary feelings. Fast forward to June 26, 2013, a year and a half after I quit....I hopped on a plane from Minnesota to California with no real plan, honestly, just a dollar and a dream. After quitting basketball, I didn’t know how to identify so #TheJourney began.
My first two years in Cali I continued to struggle because my Hoop Dreams conflicted with reality. As time passed I began detaching from the idea of playing and began focusing my energy on being involved with the game in different ways. In 2016, I got an internship with the LA Clippers, and I started coaching high school basketball. I was in a space where I felt involved while I also got the opportunity to teach others, guide others. I was able to actively mentor youth, and with my internship, I was one step closer to becoming a NBA General Manager. I began living my dream.
Now I sit and reflect. Since moving to Cali 5 years ago, I’ve grown as a man, as a friend, as a son. I’ve been homeless. I’ve had everything stolen from me. I’ve lost friends. I’ve lost everything but you never would have known unless I told you. Because each day I made sure that no matter what I'd never quit again. I never wanted to relive that moment I dropped the ball....More importantly, I never want young players to have to experience what I felt. I want to encourage youth to always chase their dreams and understand that every thing we go through has purpose and is bigger than us.
At all-star weekend I worked the Jr. NBA event. I was approached by an NBA affiliate to coach his select teams, his high school team(s) and train players in Denver, CO. We have been in contact for weeks and I have since accepted his offer. This is a HUGE opportunity and another step in the right direction of #TheJourney. My plan is to be in Denver April 5th. The only problem is I don’t have the money to up and start a new life elsewhere. My goal is to raise $5,000 to cover my expenses to Denver involving an Airbnb for 1-2 months/rent, tune-up/fix car so I can drive there, and living expenses before my first check. I humbly ask you, my beloved friends and family, my community, to help me raise the money by giving whatever you can give as well as spreading the word about my journey. This is the most exciting thing that could have happened to me. With your help, April 5, I’ll be in Denver coaching Basketball as a career. Thank you for your blessings. #TheJourney
- Jamari Wright
- Molimau Fatu
- Donovan Jones
- Justin Linnear
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