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March 13, 2014 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2014-03-13

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

is Writer
onfetti rain down
ter floor Saturday,
Is expressionless.
bar and taking a
orade bottle, Jon
peers smile while
very direction.
-oldest player on
second to climb
down his portion
fore he even puts
[der, he's already
to get rid of the
n. Andby the end
shirt, hat and net
him will already
gear would have
o as every award
gh high school -
or discarded.
ce, Liz Horford,
been approached
trd or plaque Jon
fo give away. And
e mother of that
gifted the award
rn that, well, Liz
a if Jon doesn't.
en that way. The
ogless. There's no
keep the Final
It's at her house
sy never wear the
have the memory
get the ring. And
that's important.
>f stuff you think
of your life," he

Al, currently plays for the Atlanta
Despite the last name, though,
Jon didn't play a lot.
Playing with a bunch of boys that
were coached by their fathers, Jon
rarely saw time on the court.
"Basketball in my family has
always been a huge thing," Jon said.
"The issue was I've been playing
basketball since second grade, but
I literally sat on the bench from
second grade to freshman year in

court came pressure.
Pressure to back up his family
name. Pressure from doing too
much in order to make up for lost
time. Pressure from finally getting
an opportunity he thought he
should have had earlier in his life.
And with that pressure came
negativity. And from that came

high school. Straigh
"I didn't play,
disrespected, mad
That stuff didn't
was somethingt
bothered me."
So Jon made a
commitment in
middle school to
work out more
than anyone
else, despite his
lack of playing of
T anks to
h -trrainer and
longtime family
friend, Larry
Turnbow, who
taught Jon how to
it was possible.
"He would picl
day," Jon said. "T
gym every day, m
something to eat
won't say father, b
father figure, ever
have a dad. He w
was also my best fr
my best friend."
Under the teachi
Jon's love for bask'
as it grew, Jon's fr

tbenchwarmer. Playing in the 2008 Michigan
I was very Class "A" District finals against
e fun of a lot. Battle Creek Central. Grand
kill me, but it Ledge held an eight-point lead
that obviously with 1:30 left.
Jon thought they had the game
won. With
five seniors
on Central, it
' of appeared it
"It's the type O was going to be
stuff you think their last game.
Holding on for
about at the end dsraion,
p. ayers on
of your clife, Imed
o "throwing guys
on the ground"
as the refs
play basketball, allowed the game to carry on.
After calling a timeout, even
k me up every though Central had none left, the
'ake me to the refs did not call a technical foul.
:ake sure I got "I was going to snap," he said.
every day. I "But the game was still going. I was
iut he was that like 'keep playing, we're going to
n though I did win this game anyway."'
as that. But he As the game neared its finish,
iend and still is Central forced a couple steals,
made some free throws and
ngs of Turnbow, ultimately won the game, 57-55, in
etball grew. But the final seconds.
ustration did as It was after the buzzer sounded
that Jon finally lost his composure
and took it out on the officials.
Jon cursed out the refs as his high
school coach, Tony Sweet, and
ol, Jon still sat Central's coach stood there telling
, waiting for his him he needed to calm down.
while it didn't People were terrified. And
he showed his after he calmed down, Jon was
rhenever he was distraught. He needed to change
his ways.
beat everyone "At that time, sports meant a lot
tests, he still more to me than they mean now,"
he said. "They gave me a sense
ed over to Jon's of purpose, like a false sense of
r in high school, purpose. It was a knock against
n't play a minute me as a human being at that time
sketball. At the because we weren't able to win the
od 6-foot-5. district championship. NowI don't
Jon disagrees feel that way at all."

positivity back to himself. It helped
him grow, and not just physically
from 6-foot-5 to 6-foot-10. It freed
his mind from darkness.
It's the positive energy that has
expanded his mind and allowed
him to grow as a person. It
separated his life from basketball,
instead of intertwining the two
Jon wasn't your typical jock in
high school.
As his teammates wore their
varsity jackets and warm-ups
during the day, Jon would wear
skinny jeans and Vans sneakers.
"He was the kid in high school
who hung out with the alternative
kids, played hacky sack in the
hallway," said Anna Horford,
Jon's sister. "You'll never catch
Jon in his warm-ups unless he has
to be, because that's only one part
of hislife."
Jniib fty to behi]mself and
not"1""what otas thought
of him carried overto his time at
Michigan. With an open mind and
an enthusiasm to listen, Jon has
become willing to talk to people
about basically anything.
Almost weekly, Jon says, he
walks and someone random will
stop him and askhimabout Taoism,
the government, anything really.
But Jon's point in these everyday
conversations isn't to push an
agenda of his own. It's to get people
to think. Jon doesn't want people to
accept things for what they appear
to be on the surface. He wants
people to push boundaries.
Jon wants to help people as
much as he can. The issue, though,
is that people don't understand how
Jon thinks. As a Division I athlete,
fans see him as that alone - not a
person, just an athlete.
Jon hates the attention he gets
as an athlete. He hates the glamor
and glitz.
"We'll walk in the mall and
his poster's up, and it makes him
uncomfortable," Anna said.
Jon thinks the contribution
he delivers for the team is more
important than the adoration he
receives from fans.
"That's not his life," Anna said.
"What other people have to say
about him is none of his business.
He doesn't care."
Though Jon dislikes the
limelight that comes with being
in his position, he knows playing
basketball at Michigan gives him
opportunities to help people that
he might not have otherwise.
"The significance of what we do
on the basketball court is limited,"
he said. "Compared to the lives
that we can touch in other ways,
like putting time in the community
or working with kids through
basketball, that's the stuff that
really means something to people."
As a captain, it's part of Jon's
responsibilities.to make sure his
teammates are in the right mental
state throughout the season.
He wants his teammates to be
comfortable with each other and
with themselves.
Just as Jon wants the people

he meets and talks to throughout
See HORFORD, Page 7A


didn't always *
emories for him.
:etball tormented In middle schot
there, on the bench
laying basketball opportunity. And
And with the last come in games,1
anly made sense. ability in practice w
ito, was the first given a chance.
player to play in Jon would b
ng three seasons in shooting con
kee Bucks and wouldn't play.
ets. Jon's brother, The trend carri
freshman yea
where he didi
of varsity ba
time, Jon stot
that he wa
TIIVE angry when I
playing time
that he was t
the situatior
have put me t
about the ha
dealt that he
forget that th
that used to
way,' "Jon sa
that all theco
up to youa
_ hand every g
come and wo
kids and stu
those are th
who held you
"You can1
and you can
.rnships but don't fo
treated you."
By Jon'ss
at Grand Led
R CENTER FOR school, he v
E & EURASIA points, 10 rel
finally done r
But with

s told to play
he finally did get
, he did admit
ald not to "forget
ns that people
e) was so upset
and I had been
was like 'don't
tese are the kids
treat you this
id. "Don't forget
aches that come
nd shake your
same want you to
rk out with their
ff. Don't forget
he same people
back for so long.
be nice to them
help them out,
rget how they
sophomore year
Ige (Mich.) high
as averaging 12
bounds and two
game. Jon was
iding the bench.
success on the

It was after Jon's sophomore
year in high school that he knew he
had to change his attitude and his
mindset both on the court and off it
to notonlybecome acalmer person,
but a sane one.
He decided to find his inner
"I was always upset," Jon said.
"If I did have a good game versus
a bad game, that would be like
if I was in a good mood or a bad
mood. My life was controlled by my
performance, more or less."
Jon started to study the Law of
Attraction - the belief that "like
attracts like." If he focused on
positive thoughts, he would have
positive results. From there, he
looked into different philosophies
like Taoism and Buddhism.
In his quest to find peace, Jon
realized that whether he had
success or not on the court, it was
just agame. It wasn't life.
Bringing positivity to all
situations in his life brought







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