As a young man growing up in Carol City, Florida, I knew that an advanced education was my gateway to a better future. Peer pressure, bad choices and a lack of role models made juvenile development quite challenging. Kids in my neighborhood, like so many others, lacked direction, impetus and often times the opportunity to remain focused and avoid pitfalls that awaited them at every turn. I was different. My ultimate dream was to play basketball professionally, which became a reality when I was drafted by the Indiana Pacers in 2003.
When I returned to Miami, I encountered many young people in our community. I saw so many great kids that needed a nudge in the right direction. They were anxiously seeking someone to help them set their paths and encourage them to believe in themselves. Destiny and I founded the James Jones Legacy Foundation with that very goal in mind.