Meet The Jones Family | The Players’ Tribune

Meet The Jones Family | The Players’ Tribune


– All the stuff that I’ve been through…. It could make or break you. – I grew up watching my sister play. I tried to shoot like my sister. I wanted to be lefthanded like her. She was good, she was in the fifth grade, sixth grade, playing with boys. Watching her was inspiring, and I was always the little brother – just, just this baby brother running around with a basketball watching my sister play. – “I want to be better then my sister. I want that trophy, I want
that trophy, she got this.” – I come home, I have a 20-point game, they come tell me Alexis had 50. – People who know me, they
probably think, “Ah, she joke a lot, she laugh a lot
and she’s super caring.” – She was a happy little baby. She always grinning. I
mean you could tell she was going to be
sports-inclined, ’cause anything you put in her hand she could go with it. – She was a daddy’s
girl, she got everything she want. He took care of her. – She was another reason
that made me just, kind of, want to live an even better life, because I knew I had to take care of her. She probably started playing
basketball at the age of four. I just seen her special type and I just wanted to coach her as hard as I can and I wanted her
to really be the best. – I loved to play, and
I would go out there and play it for fun and play
hard, and that’s ’cause that’s what I grew up on with my dad. His thing was to make you play with older kids all the time,
and he thought that that was gonna make me a better player. – Every time we took her
to an event they want to see her birth certificate,
’cause they could swear up and down that
she can’t be this age, because she can be in the sixth grade playing with eighth- and ninth-graders. – I worked for the Boys &
Girls Club for like 16 years, and that’s where they grew up. You see kids from all types of walks and I just got touched by it. – I think that was just
the most memorable and important time in my
life, ’cause it showed who I was as a person and who my dad was. – You know, he goes out of his way for others rather than himself. – I just got up that
morning, and it was cold, it was raining, and I
said, “You know what? We’re going to make this move anyway, but, yeah, I think it’s
going to clear up.” – I remember everything. We were leaving Midland
and we were on our way, because my sister was playing on a team in Dallas and my dad helped coach. And I remember, I was in the front seat and all the girls were in the back seat. – And then my wife called me: “You alright? It’s snowing here.” I said, “Yeah, it’s snowing here too.” I said, “I think I’m getting
ready to turn around.” – And then, next thing you know, I hear an “Oh!” and next thing you
know we start crashing. We hit a guard rail to the left. The car flipped over and
I flew out the window. And, honestly, I don’t
know how I even survived. – I just remember waking
up, I was outside the car and then I remember seeing
Andrew way over there. – I was underneath the car and Alexis came over to me and asked me was I all right. I
couldn’t get out the car. I was pinned, and Alexis kept telling me, “Get out, Daddy, get out!”
And I couldn’t move and so I told her pick my phone
up and call her momma. – To see him helpless and
not being able to move in that bed – when I saw him I cried. – You don’t ever want to see
your parents cry, you know? He just broke down and told me, “I might not be able to walk again.” – I wanted him to get up,
because I seen tubes in him. I’ve never seen him like that before. – It was hard to take in,
’cause it’s like, “Who’s going to coach me, what
am I supposed to do now?” – You know, my dad was
this strong, about six-one, muscular man who always did everything. Never complained. He was
always doing stuff for us, worked three jobs…. It’s just – To see him helpless and not
being able to move in that bed. – I remember just – not
being able to get out of bed. When I realized I couldn’t do it the way I used to do it. That probably was my biggest depression. You know, like I tell everybody, I am so blessed that I’m
the one that got hurt, instead of the girls, because if any of them kids would of got hurt
I don’t know if I’d been able to, you know, walk around,
’cause I wouldn’t be able to look nobody else – and
the parents – in their eyes if they kids would
have been paralyzed. – She never tried to push
us, she just let my dad do all the sports and
she was just the mom. – She was more of the glue in the family. She had her job, but also she always supported us at the same time. – She’s a full-time
mother, she’s a full-time caregiver and she goes to work full-time, and I love her to death. It really got to Lex, at first, because now she didn’t have me to turn to. All of a sudden you’re there,
but then you’re not there. – The years I was growing
up was when Duke was really good and that’s when
I fell in love with Duke. It wasn’t hard until the second year. It was like, “O.K., I’m a bit far and they can’t make it to all the games.” Sitting out for a whole year was difficult and hard, but I took advantage of it and I learned a lot. – It was great being
able to come home, being able to go up there every
weekend and watch her play. I think that gave me some more life, because at that time I was watching Andrew in high school, and then we would go watch her on her weekend. – If I was having bad day I could go home and be with people that would just enjoy me and love me for who I am. – To do that after she
done had the ACL tear, and being able to continue
to make it from that and continue to play, is a great blessing. – With the 12th pick in the 2017 WNBA draft the Minnesota Lynx select Alexis Jones, from Baylor University. – This is such a special moment. You’re whole family’s here, your brother Andrew, who plays for Texas, who’s entered in the NBA draft, your dad, who was paralyzed driving you to basketball game in a car accident. And here he gets to watch you get drafted. What does that mean to you? – It means a lot to me.
I’m just … I’m happy and I’m just excited they
get to be here today. – That’s probably one of the experiences I will never forget. She worked hard and her
dream finally came true. – I love her more then
anybody else in the world. I love seeing her, ’cause of the success and the potential that she has. – That’s it! Title number 4 for the Minnesota Lynx dynasty comes with a taste of sweet redemption! – So I started feeling sick kind of after we got back from Australia. We started getting into the season. I started to feel run down,
started to feel heavy. It was kind of depressing, because I was almost at the peak of my game. I was playing at a high level to make myself a potential draft pick. – I noticed that that energy level that he used to have wasn’t there. And I looked at his face and
I said, “Man, what’s wrong?” And he said, “I’m tired.” Tired? – It kind of feels like a dehydrating type of feeling. And it’s like
you don’t want to move, you just want to lay there. And then I started feeling my heart pound very hard. I could feel it coming through my chest. – He’s not playing
right. He’s not breathing right. And his dad was
just thinking his game, and I’m just thinking, “Carla,
something’s wrong.” And I said, “Yeah, something’s wrong with him.” I said, “You can just tell.” – At first they thought that
I had a viral infection. They thought I probably had the flu. I’m just going to get some TheraFlu and I’ll be good in a week.
But it didn’t get better. I went and got blood work done, and she told me it was leukemia. – When I got a text from
Andrew I was in Israel. “Alexis, I just found out I got cancer. Everything will be O.K.
I’m gonna be all right. I’m gonna get through this, and I’mma be straight.” And I’m just like…. – You don’t want to believe
it, and I didn’t believe it. When my husband called me I was at work, and he said, “They just did
the blood test on Andrew.” And I said, “What’d it say?” And he said, “He got leukemia.” And I said, “No, he don’t.” – Is he going to survive? How long will he got? How’d he get it? – To see his dream just shattered and how hard he worked … I think I fear the most is him not going to the NBA. I think that’s what like I fear, like…. ‘Cause I want it so bad for him, you know? I want you to be able to do everything that you worked hard for, and I believe he can. But that’s my
fear, that’s what I want. – I just broke down, because I’m like…. I never thought anything like
this was going to happen. Googling A.L.L., what
is acute lymphoblastic leukemia means … most people who hear cancer, “O.K. Death.” – Five years, six years maybe. Like, “Man, that’s all
my son got to live.” He was on so many antibiotics and he had so many … stuff running out of him. And as parents, you don’t know what to do. – My mom literally took off
work to be there with me. My dad was with me in the hospital. With everything I went
through, they were there with me. And that just brought – especially me, my mom and dad – that brought us closer then ever. – It was killing her.
She couldn’t concentrate. She called her daddy just …
every day she was calling. “How’s he doing? He have a
good one? I’m coming down.” We said, “Well, Alexis we’re trying to get it under control right now.” “Nope, I’m coming.” So, of course, she came
over and just made his day. – I used to call my sister
when I was in the restroom. Because I’d just go to the restroom and be in there because I didn’t want to be in my bed no more …
and just FaceTime her. – Then one day he got up,
and I was in the bathroom, because I go in the bathroom with him and I stand right there to make sure he doesn’t fall and stuff. Then all of a sudden he
was brushing his teeth, and he started dancing. So I was like, “Oh my God, I have to film it.” – Basketball is my life. Basketball is what I do. And that’s kind of what
keeps me going every day. That’s what’s making me
still fight to this day. – “I want to go shoot basketball,” and I’m like, “Andrew you can’t walk.” And he went down there
with all his equipment on him. We took him down
there, and he just said, “I don’t want to do anything
else, I just want to shoot.” – I couldn’t shoot outside the paint. I couldn’t get the ball
up. I didn’t have strength. So I was like, “O.K., if I do this every day, I’m going to get better.” I was released from the hospital February 24th, so after
February, March came. I went from 150 to now I’m 160. I play with professional
athletes every day. I’m the only one with a
PICC line in my arm and medicine going through
me, and I’m competing. – Seeing him go through it and seeing all the changes
and stuff like that, I think it just brought
our family together and made us stronger. And seeing him back playing again shows you
who he is as a person. – Just in a blink of an eye your whole life changes, and you know, we done had some life-changing situations. And so I’m just blessed that the Lord done gave us a chance to be successful. – Life is never going to be normal, and people don’t understand that. I have a son with cancer,
which I know he had, that you never know if it will come back. I have a husband that’s paralyzed from the chest down that I do care for. That’s never gonna walk away. It’s only going to get worse as we get older. So therefore all I can do is just have God to give you strength
and just keep going. That’s all you can do. – When Andrew gets better
and as Lex continues to grow, my goal next year when I leave here, I told myself I’m going to probably look for me a part-time job. I’m probably going to still try to coach, but I’m also just trying to find me something to do every day
while I’m coaching too. – I’m starting to embrace
being a cancer survivor. It’s like, “Oh, you’re Andrew
Jones. You play basketball, but you had leukemia and you beat it. And you’re continuing to beat it. If I can inspire you just to get up in the morning and attempt to
make your life better, then I’ve done my job. I feel good. I done been to the bottom and back. I done faced death twice. I’m here by a blessing and grace of God. – You’ve been through a lot. No matter what you’ve been through, you still manage to
just keep pushing away. I think as little girl I knew how to just go through problems and
just go about my day. You knew how to just fight through all the problems that you’ve been through, and you worked hard for everything that you been through today.
So just be proud that it all worked out for
itself at the end of day.