No matter where Stephen Jackson travels to or how much money he makes, he never forgets where he comes from. The San Antonio Spurs forward grew up in Port Arthur, Texas, a town right on the Gulf of Mexico, and he still makes sure to go home every summer. He has close ties to his family but he’s also working on giving back to the community.
In 2005, Hurricane Rita did a lot of damage in Port Arthur, inspiring Jackson to build a new school. He put down $500 thousand of his own money, and Jackson says the city pledged to match that. So far, that money hasn’t come in. So what Jackson hoped would be a grade school, from at least pre-kindergarten through 5th grade, is currently just an afterschool center.
I say just an afterschool center, but the facilities are still a great help to the community. The gym is a great place for kids to play pickup basketball, the computer classrooms are still in use and kids on probation go there to complete community service hours.
The school doesn’t have a clear-cut future. It started as a homeschool program with about 30 kids, then became an afterschool center and Jackson is still working towards making it a legitimate school one day. That could take some time though.
“Realistically another five years,” he says. “And if it takes longer, so be it. I’m dedicated to it. My mom’s dedicated to it. And that’s one reason she’s going back to get her degree -- so we can put more into it and know more about it than when we first started.”
It’s such an awesome story to see Stephen Jackson giving back to his community. Hopefully it will only be a couple of years before we see the Stephen Jackson Academy up and running.