Jim “Basketball” Jones is all about individuals developing and harnessing their inner strength and positive mind set to lead a better more fulfilling lives. He believes we all learn over time and at our own pace and as long as we never stop learning we will find our own success. We have to take ownership in our own effort, be willing to learn from others and Believe in Ourselves to realize our potential. Jim put these principles into action at an early age as he learned how to overcome his own Learning Disability.
Today there’s a virtual army of Jim’s believers in the world who carry Jim’s memorable messages into successful, meaningful lives. His customized school programs are designed and orchestrated to reach out to all school groups and ages and clearly address timely and specific issues about real world life and living. Schools love Jim’s willingness and ability to incorporate their school theme and messages within his program.
Read on for Jim’s background story and you’ll understand why so many know that “it’s the good stuff inside that makes you work!”
In first grade, Jim Jones was diagnosed with dyslexia. Jim’s struggles were so great that he immediately found himself placed in a special education program. It would take Jim five years working with his tutors and speech therapists before he would make it into a regular classroom.
This adversity fundamentally shaped Jim’s view of the world, and provided him with many early life lessons about the good of accepting help from others, overcoming adversity, and learning to appreciate difference. These would later become the cornerstones of his career as a public speaker.
Jim entered his senior year of high school reading at a second grade level (86 words per minute). Jim’s mother read his lesson to him so he could keep up with his studies and to this day he recounts the help of Irene Schuster, a teacher whom personally worked with Jim over the course of his senior year, to double his reading rate. Although, he still only read at the pace of 150 words per minute, Jim was accepted into Bowling Green State University on the strength of his G.P.A.
Being accepted into college was a dream come true for Jim, and, despite his disability, he refused to fail. As Jim entered college, he engineered a highly disciplined lifestyle that required long blocks of study time to keep up on the reading his classmates could accomplish in less than an hour.
In the sixth grade, Jim decided to learn to spin a basketball to try to fit in at that awkward middle school age. For him, it was time he could be creative and let his imagination go as he would dream of someday performing his new tricks in front of audiences. At that time he had no idea that he would become so good that he would be asked to perform at NBA games, nor that his escape would eventually become his career. Jim used his talents to give back to the community that had spent so much time helping him.
It was not long before people would see him all over town spinning basketballs at boy scout meetings, nursing homes, handicapped group homes, churches, festivals and parades. As his skill grew his disability shrank compared to his confidence and feeling of accomplishment in helping others.
These parallel tracks in Jim’s life—academic excellence and the desire to inspire others in meaningful, entertaining ways—became the lifeblood of Jim’s career. 15 years and 5,000 assemblies later, Jim continues to give back by bringing his story to assemblies nationwide.
If you’re interested in having Jim speak, we invite you to contact us.