Former NBA player giving back to community

dontae-jonesInner city youth basketball players in Metro Nashville are hoping to improve their skills on the court, and they are learning from the best former NBA and oversees professional basketball players.

They have gone up against the best of the best in their NBA, professional and college basketball histories. Now they are facing off with pint-size players.

Former Stafford High, Mississippi State, Boston Celtics player Dontae Jones is now giving back to the community that once gave to him.

“We don’t do this thinking every kid is going to make their high school team, we definitely don’t do it thinking that the kids going to the NBA,” Jones said. “I do this to give back something that was giving to me.”

Just maybe the next NBA or WNBA player is amongst the crowd.

“If it’s just one kid, we’ve done our job,” Jones said.

Jones was named Most Valuable Player of the 1996 SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament after leading Mississippi State University in their win over top-ranked University of Kentucky in the SEC tournament championship game.

Later that year he led Mississippi State to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four, picking up a Regional MVP honor along the way.

He was selected out of Mississippi State University as the 21st pick by the New York Knicks in the 1996 NBA Draft but was traded, along with Walter McCarty, John Thomas and Scott Brooks to the Celtics in exchange for Chris Mills shortly before the 1997-98 season began (he had previously taken part in no games in 1996-97 with the Knicks due to a foot injury).

Jones played one season for the Boston Celtics, in 97-96, appearing in 15 games for the team, averaging 2.9 ppg in 6.1 mpg.

After his NBA season, Jones played for the Memphis Houn’Dawgs in the ABA, and in Greece, Turkey, Italy, Korea and China.

The Music City Basketball Academy Camp started with only 20 players back in May and has grown to 90 to 95 participants.

The camp has been so successful, the National Youth Basketball Association League was formed with more than 250 players.


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