ESPN writer, Matt Stout, tells Adam Jone’s (St. Thomas More School) story of self-reliance, hard times, and ingenuity as he worked through a difficult and fluid family situation clinging to school and basketball (The long, hard journey of Adam Jones).
Jones displayed impressive discipline and perspective as he struggled to find firmament in his home life, school life and basketball life.
Riding his bicycle miles to make practice, living with, then, leaving his uncle’s house, eating toast sandwiches- Jone’s faced these situations and more as he worked hard to stay connected to school and basketball.
From Stout’s story:
“’One night,’ Jones said, ‘he called me into his room, and he was just like, ‘I’m sick. I’m going to be out of work for a couple months, and I’m going to have to move. I’m going to have to get this kidney transplant. I love you, and you know I’d do anything for you and right now, I really don’t have anywhere else for you to go. I barely have anywhere for me to go, let alone you. Is there anywhere you can go?’
‘And me, of course, trying to be a brave kid,’ Jones said. ‘I’m like, ‘Don’t worry about it. I’ll be fine. I can go to my friend’s house. I already talked to them,’ knowing I hadn’t talked to anybody, just so I can keep his spirits up.
‘Then I’d go to my room and cry. I had nowhere else to go.’”
Little did Jones know that he had befriended and been playing ball with Austin Rivers’ (son of Doc Rivers). Jones decided to call the Rivers and ask for help.
“‘I debated for hours,’ Jones said. ‘But at the end of the day, I was a 15-year-old kid. I couldn’t do anything. I don’t have a job, I don’t have a car, I don’t have a license, so I couldn’t get around. I couldn’t buy a house myself’ — Jones laughed — ‘because I didn’t have any money. So I was like, ‘I have to do this.’
‘And I made a phone call.’”
The Rivers family took Jones in; provided stability and guidance. They helped him work through Florida eligibility transfer hearings
Jones appreciates his opportunities like few others his age:
“‘I think about it all the time,’ Jones said of his past. ‘It motivates me to a better person every day. And in the future when I have kids and I’m busy in my profession, I want what I went through to make me stronger and to never have my family have to go through that their entire lives. It drives me every day. If I had let it get to me and put me down, I don’t know where I’d be right now.’”