The thing I love most about DLB is that it takes on a different look depending on the individual at hand. We all have our place in the world and the ability to make a difference and impact others.
A coach, an educator, a role model, impacting the lives of today’s youth are just a few of things that come to mind when thinking of Jerlisa Taylor, my former teammate at Georgia State. Over the years, I have seen her grow and develop into a confident person who inspires so many people, including me, grinding every day to make her dreams a reality.
For JT, hard work has always been a way of life, on and off the court. Off the court, determined to break the cycle of being a statistic, JT is motivated to succeed from enduring a rough childhood. Both of her parents were high school dropouts, her father was in and out of prison while her mother battled a constant battle with drug use. However instead of feeling sorry for herself, she used basketball as her way out to eventually get a college scholarship.
On the court, she naturally developed a fighter’s mentality too. After a rough start to her college career at Georgia State, with the ups and downs of being in and out of the starting line-up with one night playing 30 minutes and next close to none at all, her story ended exactly the way things were meant to be. She knew her work ethic and the value she adds to a team, and made the decision to transfer to West Georgia University, a Division II school. As the starting point guard her senior year, she averaged 10 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists per game.
With so much to give in a world so big, today she finds her place through coaching and giving back to her players by teaching the game of basketball, but more important the game of life. When I was a senior in college at GSU, JT was my favorite little freshman. Years later, it’s such a cool thing to see that once shy, little freshman pouring into her team and inspiring so many young female athletes with a vision so big and a heart so full.
JT’s social media gives me so much life, hope, inspiration, and motivates me to keep grinding myself. I love seeing her interact with her players and how much they look to her, which reminds me how much I do too. At 26 years old, her future is as bright and successful as ever, as she has dreams of opening a sports academy for female athletes that caters to team bonding, individual confidence/self-esteem, mindset, motivation, and intense conditioning.
I’m so excited to see what the future holds for you and thankful you let me tell just a brief part of your inspiring story.
Jerlisa Taylor daily exemplifies DREAM LIVE BALL.
1. The Basics:
Jerlisa Taylor, Douglasville, GA Georgia State/University of West Georgia 2013
Special Education Teacher
High School Basketball Coach
3. Define yourself in 3 words:
Relentless, Determined, Courageous
4. Who has made the biggest influence in your life and why?
My nephew. He is 10 years younger than me. When he was born, everything I did was for him. I wanted to show him that life as we know it did not have to be the only way of living.
5. What was the biggest thing you learned from playing college basketball?
Everything has to be earned. Nothing will be given to you and there will be major obstacles that you will have to overcome but with a strong mentality you can overcome any situation.
6. How did you change, grow, and mature from your freshman to senior year?
My freshman year was the hardest year of course, simply because you go from being the best and competing against other teams within your state, to being a “rookie” again. There were some growing pains. I learned quickly and by my senior year I knew exactly how valuable the point guard position is to any successful basketball team. I came into myself as not only a player but as a person; I was the leader on and off the court and that mindset translate into my everyday life.
7. What does it mean to you being a coach now?
To be able to pass on the knowledge that I have gained to the next generation of players is a feeling you can’t quite put into words. I love being able to teach about the sport, but also about life. I love coaching. I feel like it is for sure my calling. To be able to coach means everything to me. It’s almost as good as actually putting on the jersey and lacing the sneakers up. Keyword is ALMOST ;-)
8. What Is Your Ultimate Dream?
My ultimate dream is to open up a sports academy that caters to team bonding, individual confidence/self-esteem, mindset, motivation, and intense conditioning. I feel like the mental portion of women’s basketball gets swept under the rug but in reality, mindset is a major determining factor for success in general. Girls deal with so many self-esteem issues, they lack self-motivation, and most girl teams deal with so much more drama than boy teams which becomes a downfall. So in a sense I would be a life coach that ties sports into the equation.
9. How Do You Measure Success?
I personally measure success with happiness. If I am happy with my performance then I succeeded, if I am not happy then I have improving to do.
10. What motivates you to get out of bed each day/how do you stay grinding?
I had a rough childhood. I grind every day because I am determined to break a cycle and I refuse to be another statistic.
11. Quote to live by?
“If you stay ready, you never have to get ready.” -Unknown
12. Favorite song or song that describes your life or song that can always keep you going (let me know which one you pick…)
Heart of a Champion Nelly and The World’s Greatest R. Kelly
13. Your best piece of advice for the world?
If you want something go out there and get it. Never expect anyone to hand you anything, why would they? It’s a dog eat dog world. Never let success get to your head, never let failure get to your heart and never let satisfaction get to your soul. Every day is a competition with the next person.
14. Anything else you would like to add about you personally, or DLB?
DLB is super dope and awesome in every way. I am constantly talking about it with my players. I am honored to have been chosen to complete this interview. If my story inspires one person then I have done my job.