Jamaal Magloire


Birthday: May 21, 1978 

Height: 6’11” (2.11 m)

Weight: 265 lbs (120 kg)

A twelve-year veteran of the National Basketball Association, Jamaal “Big Cat” Magloire—the tough, defensive-playing centre, resilient enforcer, rebounder, and shot-blocker—was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Canada to Trinidadian parents, Garth and Marion.

By the age of 14 Jamaal was already 6’5”, and had a vision to play in the NBA. With a naturally competitive spirit, he possessed an ongoing desire to win, a passion to play, and a dedication to protect his teammates, which was evident early in his athletic development.

The foundation of his skills and workmanship were secured in high school where he attended Wexford Collegiate Institute, followed by Eastern Commerce Collegiate Institute where he graduated with the Saints. Due to the intense basketball culture, Jamaal received strong support both athletically and academically. It was at Eastern that he became acquainted with his life-long friend, trainer, and mentor Simeon Mars, and where his phenomenal high school playing career led him to be the most highly recruited Canadian prospect of his generation. Approached by several schools and presented with many lucrative opportunities, it was the influence of coach Rick Pitino on the team that motivated Jamaal to attend the University of Kentucky.

Jamaal’s years as a UK Wildcat began with a NCAA championship in 1998, and continued with Jamaal setting a long-standing record in blocked shots (268) that was only passed in January 2012 by Kentucky freshman Anthony Davis. Before his senior year at UK, Jamaal made the decision to enter the NBA draft. Commitment to finishing his schooling, and one more year of collegiate competition, however, led him to return for his senior year. 

On June 28, 2000 at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto, surrounded by family and friends, Jamaal heard his name called in the NBA Draft; he was picked up by the Charlotte Hornets with the 19th overall spot.

He remained with Charlotte/New Orleans for five seasons, until 2005, and it was with the Hornets that Jamaal was given the nickname “Big Cat” by his teammate P.J. Brown, in tribute to the Wildcats where he had left an outstanding college legacy. It was also with the Hornets that Jamaal saw career highs in points per game, points per season, rebounds per game, and where he was voted into the 2004 All Star Team. A phenomenal game for his career, Jamaal led scoring for the Eastern Conference with a career high of 19 points. He was the second Canadian All-Star in NBA history, preceded by Steve Nash.

Jamaal had another highlight season after he was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks in October of 2005. The following summer, 2006, he was traded to the Portland Trailblazers for the 2006-2007 season. A free agent after his time with the Trailblazers, Jamaal was signed to the New Jersey Nets in the summer of 2007, and then waived in early 2008. He joined the Dallas Mavericks in February of 2008 where he remained until the end of the season. 

The fall of 2008 brought Jamaal to Miami, where he noted similarities in cultural diversity and Caribbean presence to his hometown of Toronto; Jamaal appreciated his years living in the beautiful Florida city, and has expressed that it will always be a home away from home for him and his family. After an exciting 2010-2011 season with the Heat additions of Lebron James and Chris Bosh, joining Dwyane Wade to lead Miami to the NBA finals, Jamaal was again a free agent during the summer and fall of 2011, amidst the NBA lockout.

It was a natural decision for Jamaal to accept an offer from the Toronto Raptors in December 2011, and return to the city that had supported and nurtured him throughout his career. The first Canadian to play for the 16-year-old Raptors franchise, Jamaal became team captain, and an inspirational addition to the roster. Providing a strong physical presence and veteran leadership, Jamaal was honoured to be able to journey back home for the final stretch of his career.

Remaining in Toronto year-round allows Jamaal the opportunity to expand his current initiatives, as well as liaison with the community and youth that he has been dedicated to during every stage of his career.

He founded the Jamaal Magloire Basketball Association (JAMBA) in 2006, providing children in Scarborough (the area of Toronto where he grew up) with the opportunity to play and compete amongst the Ontario Basketball Association and various other tournaments. JAMBA also encourages education as a means to achieving dreams, and players have had high success rates with acceptances to colleges and universities.

In 2005, he started the Toronto Revellers, a collective of over 2000 masqueraders, volunteers, and designers who contribute to Toronto’s annual Caribbean Carnival, the largest North American street festival. The Revellers won Band of the Year for both 2007 and 2008, with the Junior Revellers (children’s band) winning titles in 2007 and 2011; they continue to be a favourite within the parade, and supporters of cultural community events year-round. In celebration and tribute to his Caribbean upbringing, the Revellers allow Jamaal the opportunity to formally celebrate the music, food, and values of the islands, as well as educate, stimulate, and cultivate the youth and his community.

In December of 2011 Jamaal had his editorial debut as a weekly columnist for The Caribbean Camera, a Toronto-based publication geared towards the West Indian community. Through “Big Cat’s Corner,” Jamaal reflects on his culture, his community, and career, giving him an opportunity to regularly connect with those in his hometown who have consistently blessed his endeavours.

Jamaal is now a supporter of Canadian Tire’s Jumpstart Charities, and featured in their 2012 and the upcoming 2013 calendar along with other iconic Canadian athletes. He continues involvement with his mother Marion’s non-profit organization, Youth Deserve A Chance To Dream, and also played a pivotal role in the organization United Mothers Opposing Violence Everywhere (UMOVE), founded after the passing of his brother Justin in 2001.

While playing basketball is his first love, it is only one of many strong attributes that make Jamaal an outstanding leader in his community and an ambassador for Toronto’s Caribbean cultural. As he continues to play with the Raptors and re-establish his full-time presence in Toronto, Jamaal looks forward to building upon the foundations of his journey within the NBA, and reaching new personal and professional heights to represent his legacy, and empower those around him who are also driven to achieve their dreams.

Bio by Kya Publishing