LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — In 2015, Siena forward Jordan Kellier left his home country of Jamaica to pursue his basketball dreams. With that decision, came sacrifice. Seven years away from his family. Fast forward to this summer, that sacrifice culminated in a truly magical moment, a trip back home to see his loved ones, and rediscover his roots.
When Kellier first came to Redemption Christian Academy in Troy, he was invigorated by the opportunity to make a better life for him and his family through the game of basketball. But seven years away from the very people he was doing it all for, began to weigh heavily. “It really takes a toll on your body and your mind,” said Kellier. “Not discrediting anyone around me right now but you know at the end of the day, family is everything and not being around them for a long period of time plays on your mind a lot.”
Over that seven year stretch, Kellier accomplished a lot. He went on to play junior college ball, before going D-I at Utah, and then transferring to Siena last season.
But what he couldn’t do over those years was something many of us take for granted: give his family a hug. That all changed this May, when he returned to see his family for the first time in seven years. “It was pure joy. Just being around them, it was just happiness, man. It was just joyful. The things I would take for granted seven years ago, I didn’t take for granted last week or two weeks ago.”
During his month-long trip back home, Kellier immersed himself into his community, finding the time to inspire kids on the same courts he grew up on. “When I went back, a lot of kids really looked up to me,” said Kellier. “It gave me a wake up call, understanding that you need to be mindful of things you do and say, and even post on social media because all these kids are watching.”
The kids look to Kellier as a hero, proof of what can become possible. While Kellier was home, he was able to spend time with some of the people who provided that same inspiration for him. “I met Usain Bolt while I was there and he gave me great advice and stuff,” said Kellier. “Seeing myself around high caliber people like that and them taking the time out to give me proper meaningful advice, it gives me a lot of motivation right now and a sense of awareness to understand, you have to take being at this level seriously to get to that professional level.”
The trip helped Kellier lock back in on where he’s headed, while reminding him where he’s been. “My dad wakes up at two in the morning to go to work and he doesn’t get home until like seven or eight at night,” said Kellier. “When you’re away from home you kind of forget who you actually are as a person. The joy you bring to the people around you. The joy you bring to your environment and who you are as a person. Just being back, man, it helped me regather myself and regather my focus and understand, like I said before, it’s not just what you see, but you’re actually doing it for a bigger cause.”