NBA forward Jajuan Johnson – who plays for the Houston Rockets — has a long standing basketball reputation in Indiana since playing at Franklin Central High School and Purdue University.
After being drafted in the first round of the 2011 NBA draft and playing his first season with the Boston Celtics. JJ wanted a way to stay connected to his hometown fans in the Midwest while playing ball on the East Coast.
The Forty Group held in-depth conversations with JJ to learn about his goals, aspirations and desires, and what type of legacy he wants to create. What we developed was a yearly plan for regular philanthropic endeavors and public appearances.
The first venture was a Back to School Shoe Giveaway with the Wheeler-Dowe Boys and Girls Club. But this wasn’t a typical shoe giveaway. Youths participating in the Clubs’ summer camp program were required to maintain good conduct during the camp, participate in educational programs and write an essay about how they can prevent bullying in their school, home and community.
During the event, JaJuan interacted with the youths and hand-delivered shoes and other prizes to the winners.
He also talked to the more than 200 kids in the Club’s summer program about his life, the importance of education (JJ received his bachelor’s degree from Purdue), listening and obeying their parents, and the negative effects of bullying.