Editor’s Note: Justin Meyer, co-founder and Editor-In-Chief of Nothing But Nylon, caught up with Michigan City native Jarrod Jones at The Basketball Tournament recently, then wrote a piece about his professional career after playing at Ball State, and the charity event, The LTG Block Party, he will host in town Sunday. The following is an excerpt from that article.
Jarrod Jones has never played in an NBA game, an objective failure of his ultimate goal of playing in the biggest league in the world.
Yet, the Michigan City native’s story is a success: a healthy overseas career is one side of his. Another, and perhaps the most important, is what it has allowed him to do for his home town.
In 2011, Jones teamed with Brawley Chisholm to create Love The Game (LTG), a basketball camp held in Michigan City and Cherry Hill, New Jersey, focused on “instilling passion and perseverance into the hearts and minds of young athletes, while teaching and enhancing the art and technique of the sport,” according to its website.
There is a charge to attend the camp, but Jones has added something more for his community in Michigan City. After the three-day event, he puts on the LTG Block Party, an open event focused on children, community and giving back.
“It’s a big barbecue with an outdoor tournament going on at the same time,” Jones said. “We have a DJ on the mic, we have big bounce houses for the kids to play in, and we have LTG backpacks that I get made up. We fill them with school supplies, and any kids who want one from the city are invited to come, and we hand them out.”
Jones started the affair out of his own pocket, requiring no charge for any attendee.
“Everything is free. No one has to pay admission or anything,” he said. “It’s all complete charity outreach to the community.”
As the years have gone on, others have taken notice. Bodyarmor has began donating drinks, and Horizon Bank in Michigan City has provided backing.
The outside interest only confirms to Jones that he’s doing something right.
“For me to start something and for these organizations to even want to be a part of my event, that let’s me know that it’s a success, something that I’m doing that people appreciate,” Jones said.
Jones finished a season last month with Monaco in the French pro league, where his team reached the finals.
He has earned a good enough living through basketball to live well and be generous to the people who were around him from the beginning.
His family is happy and healthy, and Jones has been afforded the ability to see the world because of hoops.
All in all, he can’t complain.
“My parents are retired, I can go home, and I’m in a position where I can give back to my community,” he said. “I can invite the entire city, give out school supplies and food, and provide games for the kids to play. If I can do that, I think I’m pretty successful.”