NBA Super Star@ASU to Complete His Degree
NBA champion Jason A. Caffey (photo contributed by Caffey).
Former NBA Super Star Jason A. Caffey Chooses ASU to Complete His Degree
By Kenneth Mullinax/ASU
One of the NBA’s outstanding former players, Jason A. Caffey, has chosen Alabama State University to complete his college degree. Caffey began his college career at the University of Alabama (UA) in 1991, playing there for four years before being signed by the Chicago Bulls. Caffey, who just turned 50, spent eight years in the NBA, winning two championship rings with the Bulls before joining the Golden State Warriors in 1998 and the Milwaukee Bucks in 2000. Caffey’s sports career also included being named head coach of the American Basketball Association’s expansion team, the Mobile Bay Hurricanes, in 2010.
Caffey is now focused on graduating from Alabama State University with a degree in Physical Education by December of 2024.
"I am proud to have chosen ASU as the school that I want to proudly one-day soon say that I am one of its alumni," said Caffey. "I first became acquainted with Alabama State's great reputation as a child growing up in Mobile and knew of its great history as one of America's oldest and most famous HBCUs (historically black colleges and universities) in both education and as one of the nation's leadership centers in the civil rights movement. Our community in South Alabama was always very proud of ASU and all it did. Although I chose the University of Alabama to attend and play basketball for as a career strategy to one-day play in the NBA—after playing basketball at Mobile's Davidson High School where I earned a spot on the first-team All State 6A roster and was named Gatorade's State 'Player of the Year' — I always kept good memories of ASU at the forefront in my mind."
INSPIRED BY THREE ASU LEADERS
As an NBA mega star, Caffey traversed the nation several times a year. He was often asked about the civil rights movement in Alabama, about his personal experiences growing up Black in a state once infamous for racism, and why he attended the University of Alabama, the site where former governor George Wallace made his infamous “stand in the schoolhouse door.”
"After having lots of people both discuss and confront me about Alabama's former racist history, I did lots of research on civil rights in Alabama, and both Montgomery and especially Alabama State University and its alumni, kept popping up in almost all of the historic accounts that I read in my research on how we confronted and defeated Jim Crow laws and racism," Caffey observed. "I came to the conclusion that Alabama State played a larger than life role on blazing the trail for civil and voting rights, and equality for our Black brothers and sisters, and so I decided that I needed to take a closer look at it in person."
The former NBA superstar decided to come and see ASU for himself.
So in November 2022, Caffey flew to Montgomery and while in the city, he was invited by a friend to a Hornets home basketball game.
"So i agree to come watch ASU play b-ball at the Acadome and I am taken to its VIP room where I met three remarkable gentlemen - ASU President Quinton Ross, Athletic Director Jason Cable and Chief of Staff Kevin Rolle. Believe it or not, these were the first Black university-level educational leaders that I ever met in my life - true leaders and not just window-dressing as some schools do," Caffey stated. "We immediately all became best brothers, and the ASU experience and the rapport that I struck up with these three incredible men that continues to this day made me inspired to want to be like them -- and the only way that I could begin on that path was to first complete my unfinished educational degree."
Caffey also explained that he is impressed by President Ross's concept of "CommUniversity" and wants to sit down with him to explore how he might utilize his own celebrity to help ASU help people in need.
He explained that the very next week after visiting ASU, he sat at his computer and enrolled in Alabama State University with the goal to complete the degree he first started in 1991. He is now an ASU student enrolled in summer classes.
HBCUs ARE IMPORTANT
Caffey said not only does ASU's civil rights movement history mean a great deal to him, but he also is impressed that the University is one of the nation's oldest "state-sponsored" HBCUs.
"I went to a traditional university -- UA -- for four years and have great memories and love it; however, there is something very special, almost sacred, to me as a Black man, to attend ASU, which was founded in 1867 by nine former slaves, all freedmen, who sharecropped and raised $500 to found what is now ASU so that in 1867 Black people could learn to read, write and do arithmetic. That's just plain inspirational to me," stated the NBA stand-out.
He feels that HBCUs have special meaning for many people.
"I feel that HBCUs - ASU and others - are as an important historical tradition just as much as Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad. HBCUs enable members of our community and others to learn in small classes from professors who have similar life experiences as we have and who also instill in us a camaraderie and a link from the past to the present," Caffey expounded.
"I chose ASU also because it gives me that personal touch - a boutique experience -- like a small elite academy, which will teach me and others world-class educational standards, in a small class setting, while preparing me for the future by reminding me of the toils of the past. If we forget our past, we are bound to fail in the future and Alabama State helps me and other undergraduate students to know where we came from so we can get to where we need to be."
News media contact: Kenneth Mullinax, 334-229-4104.