JackJumpers Jordon Crawford Lighting Up the NBL
by Stephanie Williams
One of the newest players in the JackJumpers lineup, Jordon Crawford has made his presence known. From Cincinnati, to playing in leagues across the world, Jordon is lighting things up on Australian basketball courts this season.
This is your first season in the NBL. How’s it going for you? It’s going good. At the beginning it was an adjustment, just trying to see how the league is and how things are ran, and trying to fit in with new teammates. I think I’ve found my spot, and feeling uncomfortable, so I’m just enjoying it.
You’ve got an explosive style of play. Have you always played like that? Yes. Since I was young, I’ve always played with confidence, to go out there and compete and leave my mark, for somebody in the stands who has never seen me play before.
How did you get into basketball? My dad started a team when I was around three or four years old. I’ve been having a ball in my hand since I was born, that’s my first love.
Did your dad play as well? He didn’t play professionally but he played. Growing up I watched him play in the local leagues, and being around the guys and his teammates, I’ve always been around it.
Did you play any other sports or was it always just basketball? Yeah, I played baseball, American football, soccer. And fun fact, I’ve also been third and fourth in the junior Olympics for TaeKwonDo!
One of the team values with the JackJumpers looks to be ‘Defend the Island’. Being a newcomer, how does it feel to defend a new island for you? You could just feel the culture when I first got here, and not just the players and staff, but the whole of Tasmania in general, how they support the Jackies so much. The culture is instilled in you, and you want to feel part of that. You see the hardworking people that’s around Tasmania, so it makes you want to play for them and make them proud the same way as making my teammates proud, and being next to them, and playing for them.
Well, you guys are certainly doing that, and I think part of that probably comes from Scott Roth as well. Yeah, of course, he’s instilled it through some of the things that he has us do, and then it comes accustomed to us actually wanting to do it, and be a part of. It definitely starts with him, and I’m enjoying it, and following the ride!
It’s a stereotype that you have to be tall for basketball, but you’re five foot six. What advice would you have for kids who might think that you have to be tall to play? I think one is just keeping your dreams, and don’t let nobody tell you you can’t do it. And then on top of that, you just have to be the hardest worker at all times. You can’t take a play off or relax because you lack other things. You just have to use your size to your advantage.
You’ve played in teams across the world. What have been some of the highlights in your playing career so far? I think the biggest highlights are the teammates I’ve met throughout my journey of basketball, and meeting and learning new cultures and all over the world – seeing what food they eat, how they celebrate different situations and holidays. And also developing a relationship, whether it’s with coaches, players, locals. I try to really enjoy the position I’ve been blessed to play with.
You have a friendship with boxer Floyd Mayweather. Everyone seems to enjoy asking you about that, so I’m going to do the same thing! How has he informed your playing career, and your life in general? Yeah, he is been super impactful and supportive, giving me tips mentally, financially, how to handle situations on and off the court, how to mentally prepare for a game, how to get away from the game and about being a better father, a better husband, just a better person overall. He has been a big mentor for me throughout my career.
How did you guys meet? One of my closest friends is Adrian Broner, who was a boxer. I was introduced to Floyd, and he saw potential and took me under his wing. And that’s been going on 12 years now.
Sometimes you meet those people, don’t you? And they unlock a different part of you. Yeah, definitely. You always have people that come into your life. You don’t know what they’re there for, but I think they’re always for learning points, and get you to the next level. And he definitely was a stepping stone in my career, and a stepping stone in life in general to be a better person.
You’re here with your wife Tiffany. How are you guys finding life in Hobart outside of basketball? It’s good. It’s a lot different from what we’re used to. The last four years we’ve been in Turkey, about 20 million people, with a lot going on. This is a little more slow motion for us, but it’s good, time to have some space for us, and see how beautiful this side of the world is. I’m a laid back, family oriented, faith based person. I’m happy to go out, meet different people, have dinner with people. It’s about getting to know everybody around here.
You have a clothing label, The Holy Hooper. Tell me about that. Yes, it’s a non-profit I started, with more than just clothing. We put on some free clinics, back home, for the kids. We do turkey giveaways, to help the less fortunate for Christmas. It’s about giving back and using my platform, and my faith, and what I stand for to spread my love for Christ around the world as well.
And how does your faith come into your career? The first thing that drives me every day when I wake up is my faith. He’s given me this talent, and I go out, and try to play, and honor him, and spread his love through the gift he has given me. He’s always my driving force, and I’m proud to stand on that in my faith.
You grew up in Cincinnati. Is that where you now call home, if you refer to home? Yeah, that would be home. This was actually my first off season being at home. For the last 10 years my off season home has been Las Vegas. I went back home-home, and spent time with the family and my daughter. She’s 15, and got her high school sports going on, so she takes up my summers. She lives with my mom and dad when I’m over here and she’ll be out here during the holidays. I can’t wait.
Tasmania is definitely a unique place, which you’re probably learning. The people are amazing. Me, and my wife talk about how friendly all the Tassies are. I don’t know how the mainland is, but here, everybody’s so friendly. Nobody’s mad at anybody, blowing a horn crazy at you.
What’s your favorite thing to do on a day off? Oh, go to Sandy Bay Long Beach. Every day.