A Harlem Globetrotter is proud to have grown up in a very tough part of the Hudson Valley.

Jakwan "Slinky" Jones of Newburgh is now a member of the Harlem Globetrotters. Jones graduated from Newburgh Free Academy and played college basketball for Wabash Valley College in Illinois, Quinnipiac in Connecticut and then Florida Southern College.

While growing up in Newburgh Jones said playing sports kept him out of trouble.

“It’s been like a dark cloud my whole life,” he said. “It’s easy to get in trouble, it’s hard to get out of it. That’s been my motivation to stay out of all trouble," Jones told The Ledger.

After he graduated from Florida Southern College he tweeted about growing up in Newburgh.

"Just a kid from Newburgh that’s going to keep beating the Odds and when I make it we all make," Jones said.

Jones signed his first professional basketball contract to play overseas in June 2019. In a tweet to celebrate the milestone, he said he hopes it inspires others from Newburgh.

"Imma keep doing it for Newburgh and keep showing the town it’s really possible," Jones wrote on Twitter.

In late December, Jones defended the Hudson Valley after someone called parts of the Husdon Valey "the absolute most toxic place I’ve ever seen."

"The 845 is actually nice. There’s a lot of history here. That’s why we have outsiders buying up properties there now. It’s an inner city that has problems just like any other," Jones said in response on Twitter.

Just before the new year, Jones and his Harlem Globetrotters played at Madison Square Garden. As a member of the world-famous Globetrotters, Jones is no longer called "Slinky," a nickname a childhood friend gave him that stuck and is now called "Sky."

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