I Hope you do not mind me sharing an experience I had Monday evening. This is not meant to be a downer as much as it is meant to highlight a real celebration of life. The life of a person we often referred to as A New York City Basketball Ambassador ! A guy who often put people involved in basketball together in the same room or gym. Amazing the number of people who knew him who collectively know every great HS player between Long Island and Pennsylvania.
Received some hard news that a wonderful person named Sid Jones passed a week ago. And when I say wonderful I mean it in every way possible. Personality, smile, demeanor, care about others even at his expense, ability to encourage others to do the best they can at all times, the ability to never give up on anyone, patience with everyone, intelligence, great family man and family man role model, great father, great grand father, outstanding organizer, outstanding coach, outstanding life coach, and much-much more.
Often when attending a funeral people talk about the deceased and highlight great stuff about him or her. Most of the time when this happens many people look at each other as if to ask "are we at the right funeral?" They do this because the person being laid to rest is not the person we knew. In the case of Sid Jones it was one of the few times where they did not even have to say much because no one, with the possible exception of President Barak Obama, has less package and controversy hidden in his closet. I honestly never saw Sid Jones raise his voice or get upset during a basketball game or in life. He oozed with goodness and understanding with almost Saint-Like Qualities. To know him is to appreciate him 100 percent.
Sid Jones was a friend of quite a few people I have the pleasure of knowing well. People who are great HS Coaches, Great College Coaches, and just wonderful people. Which is a reason why I wanted to share and highlight this going home service that brought out almost every NYC area basketball mover and shaker.
I honestly cannot believe Sid will not be a fixture at West 4th Street or the Nike Pro Am this summer physically. But spiritually we know he and guys like Bill Motley will not miss a game. In fact they will never have to worry about being late, or getting stuck in traffic. They will have season tickets to The Yankees, Nets, Mets, Knicks, HS Games, NCAA games and even find time to hit a movie or two if a good game is not taking place.
The funeral parlar, which was more like a funeral complex, was packed to the rafters with people from all over New York City, Long Island, and even New Jersey. But for the most part this was a Brooklyn USA event! And what an event it was! The turnout was a who's who of New York City area basketball. There were so many ex great players and coaches in attendance that at one time it would have equaled no less than 10 All City and All Area Basketball squads, 4 College All American Teams, and more than a dozen coach of the year candidates with the right opportunities. What a tribute, what a guy we had in Sid Jones, what a tremendous going home service.
Personally I expected to be real down after the service. But for one of the few times ever I left out feeling great based on this magnificent celebration of life. On a personal note sometimes I forget the many people I know through basketball, which is still such a part of my life. Based on the well wishers and folks walking up to me I felt as if I was an honorary Brooklyn resident. It is such a blessing to know so many people through a sport. It is also great because once again Sid Jones brought many of us together. I saw people I have not seen in 25 years. I saw people I forgot I knew. It was almost to the point there were so many of us there who were friends at one time the funeral almost turned into an actual networking events.
Well, the World has physically lost a great Man in Sid Jones. He surely will be missed but one thing for certain and one thing for sure, he will be with us spiritually and never forgotten physically for the rest of our lives. Rest in Peace Mr. Basketball Ambassador, SID JONES!!!