Kasandra Jackson spun a basketball on her finger with a little help from basketball player Corey Jones. Photo by Amber Skelton.Jones made the students a part of the show by using volunteers and the entire group to demonstrate ways to build character and listen patiently. Photo by Amber Skelton.

Jonesboro School hosts special guest

Program highlights reading, character building

Cleveland basketball player turned motivational speaker Corey Jones visited Jonesboro Elementary School on Tuesday, Feb. 21, to give presentations on bullying and promoting reading.

Jones demonstrated a number of tricks with a basketball, including juggling and helping students spin a ball on their fingers. 

He also signed a basketball with another ball spinning on his pen. “That’s my signature trick,” he joked. He told the teachers that he also calls it “creative writing.”

Jones’ focus with the elementary students was “patient listening” and not simply knowing things, but applying that knowledge to their behavior. As in each of his appearances, he gave away the signed basketball to the first volunteer to say thank you for a previous prize.

Jones has played basketball for much of his life. He is the fourth all-time scorer at Walsh University in Ohio and was inducted into their hall of fame.

In 2003, during his junior year of high school at St. Vincent-St. Mary in Ohio, he played as a starter when his team won both the state and USA TODAY national championship. This team included NBA star player LeBron James.

The one story that Jones told of his now-celebrity teammate happened the day before their first playoff game of the season. 

A representative from Nike offered James the chance to wear a one-of-a-kind pair of shoes, made just for him, during the game. James told the representative he would only wear them on one condition: Nike had to make everyone on the team a pair of the same shoes.

In one night, the company managed to make a pair of the shoes for everyone, from the coaches to the junior varsity players to the student managers.

Jones used the story to demonstrate to the Jonesboro students that they should try to be a friend and to stay humble.

Jones has been on the road talking with students around the country for about four years after shadowing his uncle, Jim “Basketball” Jones, who has been a motivational speaker for 20 years.

“I love traveling and seeing all the unique and different kids,” Jones said.

He appeared later that day at the school’s family reading night to promote reading and to show the comic book he wrote and illustrated, “How to Shoot a Basketball.”

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158
Email: news@annanews.com

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