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Amidst the scorching summer heat, the basketball court comes alive with the rhythmic sound of sneakers squeaking and the basketball thumping. Meet Jahzare Jackson, a rising pro basketball star who has recently completed an elite performance training program and high school. He now finds himself on a unique journey of self-discovery and unparalleled dedication.
Photography & Styling by SIR Darryl Neal | Words by Yvette Caslin | Make-Up by Jacen Bowman | Hair by Rania NeKole | Grooming by OLU | Videography by Keith Moore

In basketball, where talents are abundant and dreams soar high, an extraordinary star arises on the horizon – Jahzare Jackson. This young athlete’s exceptional skills have taken the sports world by storm. His journey to the pinnacle of success is a tale of dedication, family support, and unique training that sets him apart.

The class of 2023 high school graduate found basketball to be his sport of choice over football as he reached high school. Jahzare’s love for the game was evident initially, and his mother’s unwavering belief in him ignited the spark of greatness within. As he grows, so do his dreams of becoming a basketball legend.

Jah’s shirt and vest and pants are from Boohooman

“In 2018, I quit my job to support my oldest son, Jahzare Jackson, in pursuing his basketball dreams. Initially a football player, Jahzare transitioned to basketball after a growth spurt,” his mother, Lelah Jackson, reveals. “As he started playing basketball, I quickly realized the potential and commitment required for his talent. He joined the North Coast Blue Chips on the AAU circuit, and his skills and social media presence began skyrocketing.”

But it was during high school that Jahzare’s journey took an unexpected turn. While a ninth grader, he attended IMG Academy in Atlanta. Soon after, he earned a spot at Overtime Elite (OTE), an institution unlike any other for athletes of his pedigree. The Academy has made a name for its rigorous training program, requiring dedication, commitment, and grit rarely seen in young athletes. Only those with an insatiable hunger for success and an unyielding determination are accepted. In 2021, Jahzare joined the newly-formed OTE and achieved remarkable success, becoming a two-time champion in 2023.

As he continues to physically train daily and maintain a healthy diet during his summer break, one can’t help but marvel at the depth of his commitment to the sport that he loves.

Jah’s shirt is from 6th NBRHD @6thnbrhd

Each day brings him closer to his dreams; he knows he can’t afford to rest on his laurels. Even during this respite and the beginning of this new chapter, Jahzare continues his daily routines, including intense workouts, skill drills, and mental conditioning. He trains tirelessly, often pushing himself beyond his limits, determined to unlock the full extent of his potential.

Lelah adds, “It’s been an exciting and unexpected journey for both of us. I am proud to be his mother and manager — ‘momager.’ I am with him every step of the way, managing his career and supporting him emotionally and mentally.”

Jah’s shirt and jacket are from Boohooman and his jeans is from 6th NBRHD @6thnbrhd. His shoes are Nike SB x Jordan 4 Retro Pine Green. LeLe Jackson is wearing a denim shirt and jeans from the Torrid Collection, paired with Nike Jordan 1 sneakers.

Being a part of Overtime Elite was a game-changer for Jahzare, who stands at 7-foot tall, and his on-the-court and academic success have been incredibly fulfilling and rewarding. He has learned to harness his mental strength and develop a strong sense of self-belief that separates him from his peers.

Under the watchful eye of the Academy’s renowned coaches, Jahzare developed his basketball prowess and imbibed essential life skills. Leadership, teamwork, time management, and resilience are the very fabric of his being. The Academy’s philosophy emphasized character-building as much as basketball technique, fostering an environment where athletes were encouraged to explore their passions and develop a well-rounded perspective on life. Jahzare’s relentless pursuit of excellence has left an indelible mark on those who have witnessed his journey.

“Overtime Elite has given me invaluable life skills for my basketball journey and personal life. From discipline to creating good habits, the Academy’s emphasis on skill development has been impactful. The results speak for themselves as long as you put in the effort. The focus on accountability is a testament to treating us like professionals and preparing us for the next level. The sense of support and camaraderie within the Academy is like a family, providing a familial environment where everyone looks out for one another,” Jahzare explains.

According to the single mother of two young sons, Jahzare’s dedication and drive motivated Lelah to fully commit to his basketball journey. She enlisted family members to join the circle, his village.

“My family, especially my sister, brother-in-law, and brother, Avery Holley, have been an incredible support system for me. They helped care for my youngest son, Jayven, and provided financial assistance during challenging times. Avery was instrumental in teaching Jahzare basketball when he started playing.”

Jahzare’s family influences his character and work ethic. They instilled values of discipline, perseverance, and humility. They also understand the importance of physical training and proper nutrition, laying the foundation for his success.

Jah’s shirt and vest and pants are from Boohooman


“Success, for me, takes the form of making it to the league and setting a path toward creating generational wealth for my family. It’s about bringing pride to my loved ones, including my mom, auntie, uncles, and grandma, who have played a significant role in this journey. The collective effort of my circle is my motivation to pursue success,” he says.

Jah’s shirt and jacket are from Boohooman and his jeans is from 6th NBRHD @6thnbrhd.

Initially, it was overwhelming for Lelah, who played basketball and volleyball during her school years but at a different level than Jahzare. Witnessing Jahzare’s drive, willingness, and dedication to his basketball career has been a significant source of motivation for her. Knowing how much he loves the game and how hard he works to excel in it makes Lelah want to give her best to support him in every possible way.

A San Diego native, Lelah continues, “My day-to-day life revolves around being a supportive mother and manager for Jahzare. It has been a learning experience for both of us since I knew little about basketball. Over time, I found a balance between managing his basketball career and being his mom, which was initially challenging but now feels like an on-off switch. When it’s time to focus on business, we handle it professionally. When it’s time to be a mom, I prioritize his well-being and emotional support. We have open conversations about the business aspects, and I rely on the grace of God to navigate this journey with him.”

As Jah looks ahead, he remains grounded, knowing his journey has just begun. With each dribble and every shot, he carries the hopes and dreams of not only his family and the Academy but also those who believe in the transformative power of unwavering dedication and love.

Jah’s shirt and vest and pants are from Boohooman

How does Jahzare stay humble and grounded?

“To keep myself grounded, I constantly remind myself that my journey is far from complete. I remain humble and committed to the ongoing process, not allowing myself to get carried away,” Jahzare shares.

One thing is sure: Jahzare Jackson is not just a rising basketball star but a force of nature, unbreakable and destined for greatness. The world better be prepared; Jahzare’s story is just beginning and promises to be one for the ages.

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