NBA Legend heading for Guyana this weekend
By Edison Jefford
NBA Legend and Miami Heat Community Affairs Liaison Officer, Wali Jones will be in Guyana for this weekend’s National Community Basketball League (NCBL) International Weekend, and will be hosting a clinic at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall on Saturday.
According to the Coordinators of the NCBL International Weekend, Jones is scheduled to arrive in
Guyana on Thursday and will be conducting a clinic for male and female youth players as part of the developmental thrust of the ongoing Basketball League.
Jones will then have the opportunity to observe the Guyana senior male national team when they take on the Washington DC Jammers and the Brooklyn/Queens Bulldogs in a tri-partite series at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall that will test the reserve of the local players.
But who really is Wali Jones? Ask thousands of South Florida’s successful school graduates to list their sources of inspiration through the years, and undoubtedly you’ll find the name of Wali Jones somewhere on their list, says Heat News, the official website of the Miami Heats, who are now the 2012 NBA Champions.
“In his 17 years of service to South Florida as a member of the Miami HEAT organisation, Jones has enriched the lives of nearly one million children through his trademark community programme, motivational speech and clinics,” the website noted.
Jones is the Founder and Director of the ‘Shoot for the Stars’ programme in the United States of America, which provides complimentary “Books and Basketball” clinics for youth. He has conducted clinics in Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago, Bahamas, Antigua, Jamaica, Bermuda and other islands throughout the Caribbean.
The next stop for the Principal of the Heat Academy, which is the Miami Heat Academic After-school programme, will be Guyana. Jones’ work with youth clinics across the world is unrivalled and he will be here to provide a much-needed injection to local basketball.
He leads basketball camps and clinics, which teach academics, AIDS Education, health nutrition and career exploration. His schedule takes him to more than 250 sites each year in countries across the world. In January 1999, US President, Bill Clinton presented him with the President’s Award during a ‘Stop the Violence’ programme.
Jones is a 10-year veteran of the NBA, who the Detroit Pistons selected in the third round of the 1964 NBA Draft. He won a Championship ring alongside Wilt Chamberlain on the vaunted 1967 Philadelphia 76ers team, which was voted into the Hall of Fame.
In addition to his two stints with the 76ers, Jones also played with Pistons, Milwaukee Bucks and Baltimore Bullets of the NBA. Jones was as a scout for Philadelphia 76ers for seven years. Being in Guyana will certainly provide some opportunities for local players.