GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A Gulfport man is using basketball to help reach kids in his community, spending at least three days a week on the court, teaching them life skills along with dribbling techniques.
On the basketball court near 19th Street in Gulfport, it's not always about getting the ball through the hoop. It's not about triple doubles or slam dunks, and it's not about the score. It's about learning and having fun.
Javoris Broadnax started a youth sport and mentoring program for kids in his community. At least three days a week, he's at the courts, working with them on their basketball skills.
Basketball drills and skills is just a starting point.
"A parent may come to me and say, 'My child's not doing this, this, and that. He's been acting out, she's been acting out.' I pull them to the side, talk to them and the parent, and try to mentor a little bit," Broadnax said.
No defense, no offense. Just the time Broadnax takes to help each kid one-on-one.
"A lot of kids these days come from single-parent homes and don't really have anyone to work with them," he said. "So I just took it upon myself to come out and start (the program)."
Jai Dallas, 12, says her attitude caused her to lose her spot on the basketball team at school. In just a few months after joining this squad, she's made a rebound.
"He gives me lectures. 'Stop doing this and that. Stop having a bad attitude,' because I have a real bad attitude because I lose my temper fast," she said.
"It helped her with respect for authority, her grades in school," said Jai's mother, Caren Dallas. "Because this is something that she looks forward to, so she knows in order to come here, she has to work hard."
There's a special magic to what Broadnax does that these kids can't put into words.
"I don't know. I just do. That's a hard question," Dallas said.
Broadnax has an easier time answering why he continues to do this for no pay.
"I just have a passion for it. I love sports, love kids, so hey, I enjoy what I do," he said.
A passion for making sure every child he reaches knows they have someone on the sidelines rooting for them.
"It's just a good feeling to be doing something positive with the kids," he said.
Those who are interested in joining the program or volunteering can contact Broadnax at 228-324-0133 or by email. Practice days are Monday through Thursday, from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Times and days are subject to change according to weather.