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Thread: The Enigma

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    Stand On Guard For Thee Captain Canada's Avatar

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    The Enigma



    The Enigma
    June 18th, 2017



    By - A.J. Jackson
    Guard / Heat



    Enigma - a person or thing that is mysterious, puzzling, or difficult to understand.

    My Psychology professor at Duke once called me that. I originally thought she was trying to belittle me because I originally didn't know the definition of the word. But, now I do. And now it is tattooed (amongst other things) on my body.

    Truth be told, I am an enigma. I'm not easily understood. I can be quite puzzling. How I operate is a mystery.

    And that's just how I like it.

    My name is Alexander James Jackson, but you can just call me A.J. I attended Duke University last year and played for the Men's varsity basketball team and as of yesterday, I officially became a member of the Miami Heat. I have become an NBA player.

    As those of you who watched the NBA Draft live last night may have noticed, I was clearly overcome with emotion last night. It wasn't exactly how I wanted to introduce myself to the world of professional basketball but, hey, things happen. Being drafted and having an opportunity to become a professional basketball player is more than just the riches and glam of being in the NBA. It's even more of getting the opportunity to play against the best of the best.

    It is so much more than that.



    I grew up in South Los Angeles, which is more commonly known as South Central. Yes, it is as bad as you have heard about it. Gangs, drugs, violence; the whole nine yards. From an early age, I wanted more for myself. I wanted to be like the guys that made it out from the gutter. Russell Westbrook was who I wanted to be, Kendrick Lamar was the soundtrack for my life. I wanted out. I wanted more.

    But, it seemed like with every stride I took, life would promptly kick me in the groin.

    Most people like me grow up without a father. Whether it's because the man ran off on the responsibly of being a father, or because he was in jail or worse. However, I got the flip side. No mama from the get-go. When I was a child, my father pulled no punches on why my mother left.

    "She would rather party than take care of you. Let that sink in and fuel you." And, I let it. I didn't need her. I had my pops, a basketball, and, a dream.

    My skillset grew much faster than my peers. I worked tirelessly. I would shoot the ball until my stroke felt like breathing - just came naturally. I was faster, and stronger, and most importantly, I wanted it more. This took me to joining the varsity team in the 8th grade and becoming the talk of the town. However, my father kept me humbled. "Keep your head down, and keep working."

    However, as life would have it, keeping your head down and sticking strictly to your craft doesn't make the world stop throwing obstacles your way. The South Central lifestyle would claim my father, as he was incarcerated when I was in the 10th grade for peddling dope through the street. In turns out, his job had been cut years ago and he hadn't really been working a 9-5 to fund our lives. He was sentenced to 20 years behind bars. And just like that, I would spend the rest of my adolescent life raised by my grandmother, with no parents.

    My grandmother was a hard-headed woman. She was old-fashioned but man, did that lady love me. She had just lost her son to the streets, and she would be damned if she lost her grandson as well. We were the only family eachother had left. The dynamic was unlike any other family. We were a partnership. I had to grow up really quick - I had an afterschool job to help pay the bills that the state wouldn't. Basketball, work, home. That was it. And that was all I needed.

    It was 12th grade, and graduation was coming up. I was one of the highest recruited players in the nation and had decided that I would commit to excellence and join Coach K at Duke University. I still remember the look on my grandmother's face when I told her when I intended to go. "My grandson is going to an institution for higher learning" she would always say. It was her favorite phrase that year.

    She would pass shortly after we won the state championship. She had been sick for a while, but always deflected by saying she "was just getting older". It turns out she had had a mass within her lungs. By the time we caught it, there was almost no point in fighting.

    And, there I was. Barely 18, no father, mother, grandmother. Literally no family. Since I was a legal adult, I was allowed to spend the final months before I left for Duke by myself. The community had came together to raise money for my rent and necessities for the next few months before I left. The community became my family.



    Once I made my way to Durham, I knew what I wanted. To succeed. I wanted to win a championship and go pro. Coach K gave me the green light to attack in the most strategic way. Our team was stacked. Myself, Grayson Allen, Jayson Tatum, Harry Giles, and Luke Kennard. We didn't win, but we grew. We prepared ourselves for the real world and I found myself at an empasse.

    I had been through so much, that I knew that I wouldn't be returning the next season. With Coach K's blessing, I opted to forego my three years of eligibility and entered the NBA Draft.

    And now, here I am, a member of the Miami Heat.

    To my home in South Central, you are always in my heart. I will be the greatest product of my environment. It made me grow up in the 10th grade. To my adoptive home of Durham, North Carolina, I thank you for a year of self-reflection and preparation. As now an alumni, I pledge to make you proud.

    For my new home of South Beach, let's get to work.

    They won't see us coming.

    A.J. Jackson / Contributor

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    Stand On Guard For Thee Captain Canada's Avatar

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    Last edited by Captain Canada; 12-09-2017 at 3:55 PM.

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    NBA Statistics and Accomplishments


    Records:
    • Most 25-point games as a rookie in NBA History - 40 games

    • Youngest player to score 50 points in a game in NBA history - 19 years old

    • Second-most points scored by a rookie in a game (Wilt Chamberlain - 58) - 57 points

    • Youngest Player in NBA history to score a triple double - 19 years old

    • Joins Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, and Tyreke Evans as the only rookies to average 20+ PPG, 5+ RPG, and 5+ APG
    Last edited by Captain Canada; 03-18-2018 at 4:25 PM.

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    Last edited by Captain Canada; 12-09-2017 at 3:59 PM.

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    Save four

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    Stand On Guard For Thee Captain Canada's Avatar

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    And we're back

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    BHS Video Editing DJ.'s Avatar

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    Ayyy this is a cool way to kick things off. Goodluck!

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    A.J. JACKSON - HEAT


    HEIGHT: 6'6"
    WEIGHT: 215 lbs
    AGE: 19
    POSITION: SF
    JERSEY: 23
    HIGH SCHOOL: Crenshaw High School
    HOMETOWN: Los Angeles, CA
    AGENT: Roger Samuels
    COLLEGE: Duke
    CURRENT TEAM: Heat


    OVERVIEW: Arguably the greatest shooter in this year's draft. His ability to hit clutch shots are unfounded, he is extremely calm under pressure. Not as explosive around the net as, say, Dennis Smith Jr., but has an incredible ability to finish around the hoop. Can create space off the dribble but will not wow you with his ball-handling skills. Reads the court extremely well, can dish to the open man with crisp passing. Has a tendency to be streaky when he gets cold, but once he gets hot, look out. High shot volume, he is not afraid to take any shot. Great in the post, fade-away is Jordan-esque. Outstanding conditioning, he is the Energizer bunny. Mental fortitude entering the league is immense, he will not be swayed by the luxuries of the professional athlete lifestyle. According to internal reports on teams he has played on, he keeps to himself, not the most personable athlete. May not be the most marketed player in the NBA. His potential is vast.

    OFFENSE: Possibly the greatest offensive players in this year's draft. Makes shots from everywhere. Very efficient scorer. Fantastic shooting stroke. Can make shots frequently without his feet set and falling away. Equally consistent off the dribble. Tremendous finisher at the rim. Seems to hang in the air for days before putting the ball up. Gets to the free throw line at a great rate, and converts between 85-90% once there. Insanely capable of creating his own shot. Great ball handler, going either left or right. Has no trouble running the point and getting in the lane. Very good passer as well. Creates shot for his teammates with ease, thanks to his terrific feel for the game. Dominant in almost every aspect of the game. Takes over when it counts. Can will his team to victory. Ridiculous killer instinct. At times takes too much upon himself and freezes teammates out. Shot-selection isn't always the best. Will settle for some extremely difficult attempts, particularly from beyond the arc, which hurts his 3-point percentages.

    DEFENSE: Technique could use a lot of work. Absolutely great motor. Will get in his man's jersey, stay low, and move his feet to make his man give the ball up. Not the greatest lateral quickness. Possesses enough strength to defend his man in the post as well. Always gets a hand up on jump shooters. If he gets crossed, he usually is unable to get back to gather himself. Will look to block shots when he sees his teammates get beat. Rebounds at a high rate. Excellent across the board.

    Comparison: Kobe Bryant

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    KOBE!

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    D00K!

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