David Gordon did not know much about basketball growing up. In his community of Mount Salem in Montego Bay, St James, it was much more likely for him to pass by football fields instead of the concrete basketball courts that are common in other inner-city areas in Jamaica. So naturally, football was his sport of choice.
He served as a goalkeeper on his high school team at the Herbert Morrison Technical High School. But after experiencing a massive growth spurt, which he explained would make it difficult for him to perform optimally as a goalkeeper, the coach of the school’s basketball team Dave Black encouraged him to join the under 16 basketball team.
He was in grade eight at the time and knew nothing about basketball but was determined and excited to learn.
“Even in the offseason, like in the summer, I would never take breaks, I would be at the school practicing with coach Black because I wanted to ensure that I got as much in as possible as I had a lot of catching up to do,” he said.
His progress was slow and steady, but his dedication paid off when he began to excel in the game in grade 10.
In 2017, Gordon made the island’s National under 16 team and traveled to Guyana to represent Jamaica. That same year, his high school team also won the Western Basketball competition.
These achievements fueled his desire to continue excelling in the sport that he had grown to love.
“I like the fact that I can express myself, I’m a very competitive person, and I like that I can be myself on the court,” he said. Adding that he started envisioning himself as a professional basketball player.
After graduating from Herbert Morrison Technical High School in 2019, Gordon received a scholarship to the Patrick School in New Jersey. He said it was a great opportunity, but more than anything, it made him aware of the disparity in how he was trained in Jamaica in comparison to what was expected in North America.
“I was not exposed to that level of basketball in Jamaica. My first year and a half of basketball in America was maybe the hardest time of my life. I wasn’t used to the speed, the training, I wasn’t used to the food. There was a lot that I had to cope with and do differently, but at the end of the day, it really was what I wanted to do,” he said.
“I was playing with top players in the country, I was young at the time, I wasn’t getting the exposure. So I ended up leaving the Patrick School and got into a different high school,” he said.
That was Olympus Prep where he played for two seasons. At the end of the year, Gordon made the second team for the New Jersey Conference.
He then moved on to Munroe College, and although he shared that he didn’t play a lot, it was a great opportunity to develop his skills and career.
“It was a good experience, I got to travel a lot, and seeing that I want to be a professional it really gave me an eye-opener on how professionals live seeing as college basketball is next to professional, I really enjoyed that aspect,” he said.
Gordon has been back home in Jamaica for the past three months and contemplating whether or not he should continue college or fulfill his dreams of going pro-playing in the NBA or in Europe.
And he’s leaning towards going pro. He recently participated in a pro-development basketball showcase organized by P.H.A.S.E.1 Academy where he emerged as the top Jamaican player averaging 20/12.
“I love what he is doing for not just me, but Jamaica basketball on a whole. It’s the first time I’ve experienced basketball like this on this type of level here in Jamaica.”David Gordon
The 6’10’’ small forward has also joined the P.H.A.S.E.1 Academy’s men’s development team. He shared that he has been working out consistently and seeing himself getting better every day. He lauded Founder of P.H.A.S.E.1 Wayne Dawkins for the work he’s doing to develop Jamaica’s basketball
“I love what he is doing for not just me, but Jamaica basketball on a whole. It’s the first time I’ve experienced basketball like this on this type of level here in Jamaica,” he said.
The 20-year-old foresees continuous improvement in Jamaica’s basketball and is grateful for the impact his coach, Dave Black had on him choosing this path.
“Dave is one of the players that got overlooked a lot because he’s from this side of the island, but he’s really one of the best basketball players I’ve ever seen in Jamaica, the best basketball player I’ve seen in Jamaica,” he said.