Local father uses basketball to put his kids on path to success

Jon Lopez, middle, stands with his kids. From left to right are Kaylen, Isa, Javi and Teo.

Local father uses basketball to put his kids on path to success
July 11
01:30 2019

Jon Lopez is just a hard-working family man looking to put his kids in the best possible position for success. So far, three of his four children have begun their basketball careers on the AAU and school level, with one more not too far behind.

The three oldest Lopez siblings play basketball with the CP3 AAU program, among others. Lopez himself does one-on-one training with his children to give them a leg-up on the competition. He feels that basketball will keep his kids focused on the right path, instead of focusing on negative outside influences.

One might think that Lopez himself is an avid basketball player, but that is not the case. He did not even grow up playing basketball. It all started with an observation of his oldest daughter’s leadership qualities at her elementary school field day. The next week, Lopez took her out to Rupert Bell Park to shoot and they have never stopped. Once his oldest daughter caught on to the game, her younger siblings weren’t far behind.

“It wasn’t because I played as a youth, it probably was because I didn’t play,” Lopez said of the reason he introduced the game to his kids. “My mother always said she wanted to give us things she didn’t have and as a parent, I can see that is the true way of life.

“The structure you get from sports, the teamwork and the lack of idle time to get into other things, is what I take from it. Sports in general just kind of gives them a purpose.”

Lopez said his children know that if they do not take care of their business during the week at school and home, they will not be permitted to play in a tournament that weekend.  

One of the biggest benefits for having his children play basketball is they are like a team among themselves, Lopez said. They are always cheering one another on and work together to get better at their craft.

Lopez routinely works with his kids after practice and weekends to enhance their skills. He began by watching YouTube videos and emulating what he saw on the videos. He also reached out to his friends and former college roommates, Cory Baker and Mike Russell, for further advice.

“To this day, I know I don’t know as much as some of these trainers out here know, but that is why I take them to the CP3 Academy and I pay attention as well to see what we can do,” he said. “A lot of it is just spending time with my kids in the gym and the repetition and finding a way to make it fun.

“A lot of guys who train kids have played basketball their entire lives. I just learned slowly and try to have fun and be consistent.”

Once his younger children got a glimpse of their older sister on the court, it was no doubt they would soon follow suit, said Lopez.  

Playing defense and ball handling are the things Lopez likes to focus in on while training with his kids. He says there are a lot of kids who can shoot, but if you can play defense and handle the ball, you will always have a place on any team.

“Everyone wants to put the ball in the basket, but if you can handle the ball and play defense, your coach is going to want you on the floor,” Lopez continued. “I work with them on ball handling because I am not a 7-footer, so they will not be very tall when they get older.”

Lopez is hoping basketball opens up a world of possibilities for his children. He constantly tells them this is “God’s plan” and the sport of basketball will keep them on track.

“I don’t talk about them going to the league, I talk about school and how basketball can help them get into college,” he said. “I scrape by trying to figure out how to pay for everything for them, but I think it’s better to go the route we are going so one day they can get a full ride to get their education.

“What I want for them ultimately is to have a healthy lifestyle. It’s not about being rich and it’s not about being famous, it’s about having a healthy lifestyle. It took me having a not so healthy lifestyle to realize how important it really is.”

Lopez also wants his kids to use basketball as a means to give back to their community. He feels it is not only important for his kids to succeed, but also wants them to help others succeed, if possible.

It’s encouraging to hear people complimenting him on his work with his kids, Lopez said. He says he is humbled when he hears complimentary words from others, especially from those he doesn’t know.  

For Lopez, he is prouder of his children’s work ethic, rather than their accomplishments on the court. The fact they go out there every day to give it their all is what he enjoys seeing the most. The icing on the cake is that all his kids made straight As during the last quarter of the school year.

“I am proud of them for trusting a process and going through with it,” he said about his kids. “It’s not so much about being the best, it’s how dedicated are you and that’s what makes me proud.  

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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