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Jamaal Magloire’s home court slam dunk
Thursday, 11 March 2010

Local NBA player Jamaal Magloire’s biggest victories are won at home.

BY: Shakiyl Cox (former JAMBA Player) 

This member of the Miami Heat is the only Toronto-born player in the NBA, and that puts a lot of pride and responsibility on the tall shoulders of this 10-year veteran.

 Jamaal, 31, knows all about beating the odds.  Jamaal is familiar with crime, as his younger half-brother brother Justin Sheppard was a victim to gun violence.  Justin was murdered at the young age of 19 in 2001.  His murderer is still at large. “His passing has inspired me to be more of an ambassador against gun violence,” said Jamaal.

He plays a pivotal role in an organization called United Mothers Opposing Violence Everywhere which was founded in 2005 by Audette Sheppard, the mother of his late brother. In UMOVE he said the role he plays is, “Being the mediator between adults and kids, trying to let them know they are smarter.”

He credits his parents Garth, and Marion Magloire for being who he is. “Coming from Trinidad in the late 1960s, they had to persevere not knowing anyone. They were two solid blue collar workers with no jobs,” said Jamaal.

This has led Jamaal to reach out within his community and establish the Jamaal Magloire Basketball Association. This program gives children in Scarborough a chance to play basketball and compete at a competitive level within the Ontario Basketball Association, and other various tournaments. What separates this organization from other organizations is the subsidized cost. “I’m blessed with the opportunity. My duty is to help others to aspire to be like me,” he said.
Donovan Smith, 44, who works for the Toronto District School Board, has volunteered his time as a coach at JAMBA since it began four years ago. “My interest is basketball, and I’d like to keep the kids off the street,” said Smith. When asked what they emphasize within this association, Smith replied that it is all about developing life skills that the children can use later in life. This program has become such a huge part of these children’s lives that they stop by to visit even after they have outgrown the age limits of the teams. With Jamaal busy playing for the Miami Heat throughout the year, Natalie Richardson, a long time friend of Jamaal, manages the teams. “Natalie Richardson and I started trying to achieve teamwork rather than having idle time,” said Magloire.
Kevon Parchment, 17, who attends West Hill C.I, is currently a player on JAMBA. Jamaal Magloire has had an impact on his life for sure.  Parchment has felt the positive repercussions of this program. “[It] definitely helped me get out of trouble and maintain a good attitude. I learned some quality leadership roles and how to take criticism,” said Parchment. He has maintained a focus that has led him to want to pursue a career in physical education.

JAMBA has been successful enough to have seen multiple teens move on to college and university. For example, following the 2008-2009 season, over 90% of their players went on to post-secondary education.  Adrian Tomlinson, 19, one of the best basketball players in Toronto, was fortunate enough to have JAMBA there to assist him in getting to St. Lawrence College in Kingston. “Donovan Smith has helped me get to St. Lawrence College. He contacted the coach and I followed through with it,” said Tomlinson. He certainly feels that he has benefitted from being associated with Jamaal Magloire. “It has given me the life tools and life skills to better me as a man and a person.”
Even if Jamaal wasn’t fortunate enough to be such a prominent figure, he feels he still would have been helping others. At the University of Kentucky he majored in social work, because he felt if basketball didn’t work out for him he’d be mentoring young children. When he decides to hang up the sneakers, he still wants to be a major part of the community. “[I’d like to be] an ambassador in Toronto helping kids achieve their dream,” said Jamaal.
Helping children out and playing basketball is not the only thing that keeps Jamaal’s name circulated throughout Toronto. He’s heavily involved within Toronto’s Caribana. Caribana is a festival celebrating Caribbean culture that takes place every summer here in Toronto. He has his own band the “Toronto Revellers,” which competes in the parade event, claiming the coveted title of “Band of the Year” two years in a row in 2007 and 2008. Jamaal is proud of his Trinidadian heritage, and wants to share it with everyone he can. “It’s a part of my culture. I want the kids to realize where they come from,” said Jamaal.

Jamaal’s selfless personality has been felt throughout JAMBA, as everyone involved seems to sense that. “You would never know that this is Jamaal’s program unless somebody said this is Jamaal’s program,” said Smith. “He’s just humble.” When asked to sum JAMBA up into one word Adrian Tomlinson replied, “Family.  Everyone’s together, nobody is separate, we are just a unit that supports each other.”

Donovan Smith believes there is a common misconception of JAMBA, as people don’t truly know where the emphasis of their mission is. “We’re not here to sell basketball, we’re here to sell the education, and that’s the key. You need the diploma.”

Hoop Group Elite Camp
Monday, 21 July 2008

In the first week of July (4-9) JAMBA took six players (Joseph Wani, Shakiyl Cox, Ajahmo Clarke, James Forrester, Dapo Badmos, and Malcolm Ramsay) to the Hoop Group Elite basketball camp in Ewing, New Jersey.  Over the past 30 years, many of the NBA’s greats have attended this camp, including our own Jamaal Magloire, as it is America’s premier camp for exposure.  The focus of the camp is “ICE”; Instruction, Competition, Exposure.   Aspiring hoopsters have the opportunity to receive instructions from some of the game’s best teachers, while playing against some of the highest level of competition and receiving exposure during the course of the camp. 

This session (July 4-5) was well attended with over 850 players trying to impress the over 200 coaches and scouts that were in attendance over the course of the four days, while also working on their games.  Players came from as far as London, England and Trinidad and Tobago.  This was an event were you had to bring your best game every day if you wanted an opportunity to stand out.  On the last day of camp during his championship game JAMBA’s Ajahmo Clarke was able to do just that, by playing tenacious on the ball defence and attacking the rim relentlessly on offence.  His aggressive play enabled him to be named as one of the standouts of the day by camp organizers.

Overall it was a very successful week for all the campers that attended; as they were able gage themselves amongst their American counterparts, thereby enabling them to identify their strengths and weaknesses of which they can work on throughout the course of the summer.

We look forward to putting this trip on our schedule and making it an annual event.

JAMBA Cats in Boston
Friday, 27 June 2008

JAMBA Major Midget Boys - Boston Elite Invitational Champions 

The JAMBA Cats Major Midget Boys and Junior Men’s teams recently returned from an amazing trip to the fabulous city of Boston where they competed in the RBK Team Boston Elite Invitational Tournament.  After performing so well in the Ontario Basketball Provincial Championships, the teams were invited to participate in the Boston Tournament.

The Junior Men’s team suffered difficult losses and were unable to advance, but not without putting up a tooth and nail fight to the end.  Despite being plagued by injuries and illnesses, (several of our boys had the flu) our boys managed to be very competitive throughout the entire tournament.   Tournament organizers as well as opposing teams both commented on having gained a new found respect for how well the Juniors played.  Congratulations Juniors on the way you represented yourselves and the organization!