For the Jackson family, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Young Adam Jackson remembers the proposed street plans for the first Hoopfest lying across his dining room table. His dad, original board member, Dave Jackson, and Hoopfest founders Rick Betts and Jerry Schmidt discussed an idea they had for bringing a 3-on-3 basketball tournament to Spokane. Four-year-old Adam loved basketball. What wasn’t to like?
From the summer of 1990 onward, the Jacksons haven’t missed a Hoopfest. Dave, an attorney, was the mastermind behind the legal work that starting Hoopfest required. He negotiated with the city regarding shutting down streets and met with businesses regarding closing traffic flow to their respective blocks. Since then, Dave has always had some part in site management and currently serves on the Hoopfest Operating Committee as head of the maintenance engineering team.
By Hoopfest 1991, Adam was playing in Hoopfest. School would get out each June and he’d spend the first month of his summer at the Hoopfest office copying flyers and pumping up basketballs. Or later, he’d be out with his dad, loading trucks full of hoops, backboards and pads. A textbook Spokane basketball kid, Adam played YMCA ball, then AAU and eventually at Ferris High School, with Hoopfest serving as a nonnegotiable annual milestone. By the time Adam was a teenager he would be playing Hoopfest with his buddies, but have his radio on and in between his own games he’d run out to whatever court needed maintenance.
“I don’t know any different; it’s just something I’ve always done,” Adam said of his involvement with Hoopfest.
After 24 years of making “whatever I can do to help with Hoopfest, please let me know” his anthem, Adam was asked to join the Operating Committee in 2014.
When told he was going to be in charge of the contest and festival aspect of Hoopfest, Adam responded with a keen, “what the heck is that?”
Admittedly, Adam knew plenty about Hoopfest, but little about what it actually takes to put on the Safeco Family Fun Zone, Toyota Shoot-Off or the Free Throw Challenge. Yet his anthem rang true and he enthusiastically jumped in with both feet, determined to excel at his new responsibilities. Adam willingly held off on playing in Hoopfest in order to move into the leadership position.
“23 out of 25 years isn’t bad,”Adam joked of his long-lived playing career.
As Dave and Adam became more involved with Hoopfest, more Jacksons wanted to join in on the fun. Charlie, Dave’s father, and Don, Dave’s brother have also contributed to Hoopfests over the years, making the Jackson family involvement three-generational.
Adam is now married with three kids of his own. His oldest daughter is six, just a couple years away from being able to register for Hoopfest, at which point Adam assumes the family legacy will continue. Adam has a son who is four–the same age he was when he started helping his dad at the event.
“He thinks that’s what you do in June: you go play basketball in downtown Spokane,” Adam said. “He’ll be a part of the next generation of Hoopfest volunteers who hang out with dad.”
The youngest Jacksons pride in Hoopfest was taken to a new level last year when their dad took over the “bouncy castles.”
“Right now they’ll brag, ‘my dad’s in charge of the bouncy castle!’” Adam mentioned.
Even though he grew up around the tournament, since joining the OC, Adam’s eyes have been opened to Hoopfest’s commitment to Spokane year-round.
“To see Hoopfest’s reinvestment in the community is impressive,” Adam said. “Whether it’s the community courts—you can drive past any park and always see someone playing on a Hoopfest court—or the development of the next generation of athletes [in AAU], it’s all done through basketball.”
Indeed it’s incredible the impact of just a hoop and a ball on a city. After all, that’s what this is all about.
“It’s pretty cool that you can bring people from all over the country and all walks of life into a small downtown section of Spokane,” Adam said. “When people are playing at Hoopfest, it doesn’t matter who you are or what you do. What matters is people are enjoying Spokane and all the community has to offer and the avenue is basketball.”
It’s no exaggeration that Hoopfest doesn’t happen without volunteers and we are thankful for families like the Jacksons, who are the epitome of that.
“I want to give back to make sure Hoopfest stays around so that when my kids are old enough they can play Hoopfest and AAU and have the same experiences I’ve had,” Adam said.
If you want to volunteer for Hoopfest 2015, yes, we still need you!