October 10, 2013
Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Byron Scott shared his experiences as a professional athlete and spoke about the importance of a college education, Monday, September 30, in Centennial High School’s library. Sponsored by nonprofits Hitting the Right Note and Musication, Inc., the hour-long program provided over 30 students, many of them young athletes, with the opportunity to interact and learn from the NBA great. Students listened as Scott, who recently coached the Cleveland Cavaliers, discussed growing up in Inglewood, how he was mentored by Centennial’s Principal Jesse Jones, and realizing the value of an undergraduate degree.
Principal Jones said he is proud of Scott’s success and wanted his students to learn the realities of the sports business. “I wanted them to hear about how much hard work, sacrifice, and intelligence it takes to make it as a professional athlete,” he said. “Centennial is grateful to have Byron here, and on a personal level, it means a lot to reconnect with one of my former students from my days as principal at Morningside High School in Inglewood.”
Jones added, “I think that because Byron comes from a community much like Compton, it enables these kids to relate to his experiences. It helps them see the potential within themselves.”
For Scott, who will begin a new career as a broadcaster alongside former Lakers player Luke Walton on Time Warner Cable’s SportsNet, any opportunity to give back to local communities is time well-spent. “Mr. Jones was my principal in Inglewood. Today was a reunion for us, and it was great to see him again. He taught me so much when I was one of his students,” he noted.
“The biggest thing for me was to come here and educate these young people, especially the ones who are athletes trying to make it where I’ve been. I wanted to let them know what it takes to get there, what it means to be there, and what it takes to stay there.”
Scott said he credits his education with his professional success, and encouraged all students in attendance to find a subject they would like to major in.
“I wanted to motivate them to fulfill their dreams, but also to let them know that they should never forget about their education. They need to know that the most important thing right now is to graduate high school, go to college, get a degree, and everything after that is gravy,” he said. “I went to Arizona State University, where I majored in telecommunications. It all applies to everything I do. I want Centennial’s students to understand that.”