Basketball has made a nice life for Jarrod Jones.
The Michigan City product makes good money, sees the world and does something he loves.
While hoops has been the path to success for Jones, it doesn't turn out that way for most kids, so as the kids at his LTG (Love The Game) Camp July 8-10 at the high school will learn how to get better at the game, they will also learn that there is more out there than a ball and a hoop.
"The purpose of instilling the Love the Game philosophy doesn't mean they're going to be the next LeBron James," Jones said Wednesday from Monaco, where his French team is playing in the LNB (Ligue Nationale De Basket) Pro A championship. "If you have the passion, if you work hard, it can take you to many different outlets. You can use basketball as a tool to get an education, go to college, to find your true purpose. The game can do as much for you as you put into it."
Kids will do stations and drill work, learn fundamentals and engage in plenty of competition over the three days. Right in the middle of each day, there will be a guest speaker.
"It's the most important part of the camp," Jones said. "I try to bring in players from all different levels, all walks of life, people who have been in their shoes. We've had women who have played overseas, NBA players, retired NBA players, Harlem Globetrotters, coaches at the college level. They'll have their full focus."
The camp, sponsored by Horizon Bank, is in its sixth year at M.C. Jones and partner Brawley Chisholm have seen it develop at its various sites, which included Phoenix, New York and New Jersey last year, and will return to the latter two this summer.
"We try to keep building," Jones said. "We get a lot of returning campers. I see the progress. We've had a number of campers from the first year who have went off to college and are playing ball. The LTG name is getting around, not just Michigan City, but the country, overseas. I've bunch of guys in Monaco on the team wearing LTG stuff. We've continued to grow the brand name and what we do in Michigan City is at the foundation of it. There's basketball potential in the city. I remember it, growing up. We're trying to bring that culture back to Michigan City."
A Ball State product, Jones has played in Hungary, Italy and Turkey, in addition to France. He's on a one-year contract with Monaco, where he has enjoyed the experience on and off the court with his wife and daughter.
"It's the most beautiful destination, city-wise," he said. "It's one of the nicest cities in the world. It's been a good year here. We're striving to bring home the championship."
AS Monaco won game three Thursday over Villeurbanne, owned by NBA great Tony Parker, a native of France, to get within 2-1 in the series. It hosts game four Saturday in hopes of forcing a decisive fifth and final game on the road Tuesday.
"I'll be coming home after we're done," Jones said. "Hopefully, that'll be after winning game five."
The LTG camp is open to ages 9 to 17. For details and to register, go to ltglovethegame.com. Jones will also host another block party in Michigan City July 28.
"I want to try to do as much as possible," he said.