Every basketball player has a story, Jaylen Nixon has one of trial and triumph. Lavar Ball’s new Junior Basketball Association League (JBA for short) gives the opportunity for players to tryout and hopefully make the team and sign a pro contract. Jaylen is one of the players who tried out and made the Philadelphia Ballers team. I caught up with Jaylen to find out more about his experience at the tryout. He also gave his story on why he is grateful for Lavar Ball, the Big Baller Brand and the JBA.
“My name is Jaylen Nixon I’m 20 years old and I’m from Norfolk Virginia. Basketball always has been a dream of mine since I was very young. I started taking basketball serious around my senior year of high school, because I got cut from the varsity team my freshman, Sophomore, and junior year.”
“During those three years of high school my living situation wasn’t the best because my mother lost her job, that caused me, my mom, and my other two siblings to be homeless. While we were moving from multiple shelters around the Virginia area, my mom became very ill with pneumonia to the point of mobility paralysis.”
“At this point I wasn’t focused on basketball at all. I was just worried about taking care of my mom and pushing her around in a wheelchair, helping her at home with therapy and anything else she needed. I also used to play with my brothers and sister at the shelters we stayed in.”
“Through home therapy and God, she was able to gain her full mobility back.”
“One day my best friend Raheem White was murdered in Norfolk Virginia at the age of 18 in the area were most of my friends grew up. Norfolk in the past 5 or 6 years has been in countless discussions for one of the most dangerous cities on the East Coast. After that tragedy I didn’t want to be a statistic or put myself in that predicament.”
“My best friend and I use to play in a church league. He would always tell me how one day I was going to go pro. I use to laugh at it because I didn’t think that was attainable for me.”
“I played my senior year and didn’t get a lot of playing time. I was known as a “late bloomer.” I went from 5’10 senior year then I moved to Philadelphia and shot up to 6’3. The reason I moved to Philadelphia was to explore more options for my life, as far as looking for small schools or junior colleges that would take a chance on me.”
“I played a year of junior college basketball at Community College of Philadelphia as a walk-on, where I got a conference championship. I was conference player of the year as a freshman, first team all region and conference, while averaging 22 points and 6 rebounds.”
“After the season I did not have any major schools or offers, so being a fan of the Big Baller Brand I followed the JBA because I knew this was the opportunity to get my name out to the basketball world. Although I wasn’t on any recruiting databases for D1 or D2 colleges, I knew I was just as good as any of those players on the next level.”
Daniel Flores (DF): What is your goal in your basketball career?
Jaylen Nixon (JN): My dream is to play pro basketball anywhere it doesn’t matter.
DF: What are some of your best attributes in basketball?
JN: Some of my best attributes are my explosiveness, athleticism, finishing around the basket, three pointers and finding the open man.
DF: Who in the NBA is your game most like?
JN: I don’t compare myself to anyone, I think my game is unique.
DF: Did you meet Lavar or speak to him?
JN: Lavar did not come to the Philadelphia try out, but I did meet his brother and the Big Baller Brand team. They’re great people, you can tell it’s a truly owned family brand, great people great atmosphere and a lot of praise. They want to see everyone succeed.