Growing up in an area of high deprivation wasn’t easy for Justin, or for his family. Surrounded by widespread crime and anti-social behaviour, Justin’s biggest outlet was also his greatest talent. An enthusiastic basketball player, he would often turn to the court, and to the local West Brom Basketball project in times of personal difficulty. During these episodes, Justin would be there – working through his stress or pain alongside his young nephew Jerome.

Justin’s passion gave him the credibility to avoid being swallowed up by the gang-life surrounding him. When tragedy struck, that very same passion would give him the strength to endure - even through the devastating loss of his sister.

Fortunately for his community, Justin’s passion would extend even beyond that – and out into his wider West Brom neighbourhood. From attending the project as a simple participant, Justin would soon move on to become a trusted volunteer and later - a well-loved coach at the club. From there, Justin’s easy manner and natural affinity with students would see him promoted to the head coach role at both the under 11 and under 13 levels – all while plying his trade for the men’s senior team!

From participant to leader, Justin’s journey is every bit as inspirational as he is. This incredible young man overcame no end of personal struggles to create a brighter future for others just like him. Together, StreetGames and the West Brom Basketball Club are proud to have opened the door of opportunity to Justin, empowering him to succeed where so many others are never given that first crucial chance.

 

Here’s what Justin himself had to say about his remarkable journey through sport:

“My Doorstep Sport Coach, Liam really supported me when I was learning to be a coach, by pushing me to be my best. He knew what I was capable of and didn't let me give up. He taught me perseverance and dedication to coaching. He was not only my coaching mentor but also my best friend. He helped me through a lot of my problems that I had at the time and showed me that basketball can help you get through your struggles. That’s why I love coaching - to help children, not only in sport but in life. Liam is an inspiration to me - I hope I can be half the man he is today and effect [the lives of others] like he has affected mine”.

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