The "Jelly" Way | Pay It Forward / by Hussein Abdullahi

CEO of the Jelly Fam Ja’Quaye James and Co-founder Isaiah Washington has solely changed the culture for New York City basketball. The two guards used to battle against each other in summer tournaments for city supremacy and bragging rights. Now several years later, they've created an illustrious brand in which they've utilized their platform to inspire the youth and hoop community. They have took the city by storm as the Jelly Fam movement continues to expand exponentially across the globe. New York city has been publicly acknowledged for their rich culture of basketball and it’s pipeline to the top tier players. During the summer circuit top players travel throughout the tri-state area competing against NYC's top talent in hopes to gain national notoriety. Ja’Quaye is no stranger to the tough rigors that NYC basketball breeds, he epitomizes grit, determination, and drive one must have to make it out of the concrete jungle.

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Jelly fam started all in my crib, me and zay was sitting there ...I was like we need a group, matter of fact I would join Jelly Fam!
— Ja'Quaye James

Ja’Quaye has been playing against men since he was in middle school, which transcended his game tremendously at the High school/ AAU level. Last summer, Ja’Quaye left his imprint on the blacktops winning both divisions in the 2017 Dyckman basketball tournament. In the HS Division he took home MVP Honours and in the College/pro division he defended his title. Ja’Quaye has wrote another chapter in his success story by making history in the league, in the last 3 season he has been crown 3 times which includes the 2 championships in one summer. In his last season at Teaneck HS Ja'Quaye looks to leave a lasting legacy and surpass all expectations. He’s become a member of the 2000-pt club; also emerging as one of the top PG in the tri-state area. Ja’Quaye has a natural knack for the bright lights, being the nephew of rap artist “Juelz Santana", Ja’Quaye's been the center of attention growing up. He’s been to observe the evolution of the hip-hop culture with it's interaction to sports. He witnessed the Diplomats at the peak of their careers, which solely influenced his creative mind as an athlete. The music industry also planted the seed to him about being a avid creator and thinking outside the box.  To see the Jelly Fam flourish as a prominent basketball movement is quite impressive, Ja'Quaye never seem this happening in one of his wildest of dreams.

 

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Photo by: @benshotit

Photo by: @benshotit

I want the younger kids to keep pushing and you don’t need to follow nobody, create your own wave. The same way we created Jelly Fam there’s gonna be something else after us.
— Ja'Quaye James

The 6’1 Gopher Guard Isaiah Washington has created a hoop-frenzy throughout NYC with his signature move “Jelly”. The Jelly is a finger roll, others refer to as the most infamous lay-up. “Jelly” originated from Milbank, where Anwar Hannon (Trainer) used to call out “Jelly” as players completed difficult finishes. Isaiah took the word and manifested something greater, now several years later he teamed up with childhood friend Ja’Quaye to start their hoop fraternity and movement. Due to their explosion on social media Jelly Fam has become the topic of discussion in every hoop community, the movement has become nationally recognized, which has shifted the culture of basketball into a creative realm. Isaiah’s Harlem roots and swagger have solely influenced his dominant play on the blacktops, which also has a profound imprint on NYC basketball as a whole. During his senior campaign in HS Isaiah decided that he was going to put NYC basketball back on the map, he could of attended the top prep schools across the nation but decided stay to be a home-grown star. The Harlem native was ranked the #1 prospect in NYC, receiving national notoriety more than any other prospect in the tri-state. This season Isaiah suited up for Richard Pitino and the Minnesota Gophers, during his freshman campaign he averaged 8.7 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 2.3 rebounds in 20 minutes per contest. Isaiah is the epitome of a NYC guard with his flash, charisma, and relenting will, he's been named " The Saviour" for NYC basketball. This off-season will be huge as Mr. Washington looks to live of to the weight of a whole tri-state over his shoulders; he definitely has big shoes to fill, as he's the next best thing out of Harlem.

Photo by: Bleacher Report   

Photo by: Bleacher Report

 

We’ve been dreaming to go into the NBA since we were kids, so no matter what you were gonna keep working hard, keep inspiring the youth, keep pumping Jelly Fam, and at the end of the day we gon be great.
— Isaiah Washington
Photo by: The Unguarded

Photo by: The Unguarded

My favourite part about Jelly Fam is just how much we inspire the youth. A lot kids can’t really look up to people that’s like us, everybody around their neighborhoods are doing things the wrong way.
— Isaiah Washington

The Unguarded got an exclusive look inside the story of Jelly Fam, while interviewing Ja’Quaye James (CEO), and Isaiah Washington (Co-founder) they talk about their history with the Jelly movement, while shedding light on their relationship on and off the court. They spoke on the importance of using their creative platform to inspire the youth to come and dropped some gems for the upcoming prospects as well as the hoop community. Here is the video on the Jelly Fam, Ja'Quaye and Isaiah Washington give you an exclusive look at their off-season grind. Be sure to watch!

 

Athletes: Isaiah Washington (@jellyfam_dimes) , Ja'Quaye James (@jf_g3)

Special Thanks:  The Unguarded (@theunguarded), Jellyfam (@jellyfamofficial), (@dyckmanbasketball, (@ESPN)