Ameer Jackson tore up the Qatari Basketball League, then he tore his ACL. Speaking to the New Jersey-born point guard, it seemed like he would have been more surprised if everything had gone smoothly.
Jackson, 26, has dealt with adversity all of his life. His latest injury wasn’t his first – he’s been through some real off-court struggles, made a few decisions he wishes he could take back and, growing up as a young man of color in America, a life bereft of racist abuse was always going to be out of the question.
“I’m really numb to it,” Ameer told Talkbasket.net’s Lou Flavius during a phone interview. “It doesn’t get me upset or anything.”
The above speaks to Ameer’s character. He’s been through years of adversity and is prepared to take on a whole lot more while on the path to his ultimate goal. The 6.4 ft guard is excited to head back to Qatar after earning himself another contract with Al-Khor after starring for the side during the 2018-19 season. He averaged 24.3 points per game as the league’s top scorer that year but, as mentioned above, suffered a huge injury setback.
His journey would take him to Africa, where he would suit up for Ezzahra Sports Club in Tunisia before the COVID-19 pandemic sprang up just as he was settling in. As he has all his life, Ameer’s taken everything in stride and has come out of the period feeling optimistic. In fact, he says he’s glad he got sidelined.
“Honestly glad it happened. This is the best my body’s ever felt,” he declared. “And it let me think about the game in a different way and see in a different way.”
The American guard is champing at the bit to get back to Qatar and appears to be well on his way to becoming as traveled a star as he could have possibly wished for, having also played for Romanian club CN Aurel Vlaicu Bucuresti in 2017/18. He should have already been back in Qatar but is being delayed by a passport issue, as is soon-to-be teammate Quintrell Thomas, who was also signed by Al-Khor this year.
The overseas option has been snagged by many an American as it provides an avenue for the showcasing of one’s skill if not recognized at home. For Ameer, it was all about doing what’s best for himself and his family. He says he opted to go play overseas because he knew he could always go back to college but needed to put food on the table.
Of course, the NBA is the goal.
“Right now just want to provide for my family and build a strong CV overseas but I definitely want to play in a summer league, show my talents and hopefully land a contract,” Ameer explains.
The most recent NBA campaign proved especially motivational for Ameer as he watched Miami Heat rookies Kendrick Nunn and Duncan Robinson come to the fore in a huge way after going undrafted. Nunn was in the running for Rookie of the Year and made the 2019/20 All-Rookie Team while Robinson, a former Division 3 player, is now recognized as one of the deadliest shooters in the league.
“Man that’s so inspiring to me personally,” he pointed out. “They worked hard for that position and it paid off.”
Ameer has a few friends in the NBA and would very much love to rub shoulders with them in future. Among those are Utah Jazz shooting guard Rayjon Tucker and Javonte Green of the Boston Celtics.
As for his aspirations for the season, and his career overall, Ameer Jackson envisions success alongside Thomas and, ultimately, realising his dream of making it to the NBA. He’s also not focused on chasing individual awards, he says he just wants to win trophies.
“Well we have another great import after signing Quintrell Thomas, good big man at Kansas and UNLV,” he said. “I want to win the regular season and at least one of the cups, this only thing I’m looking for. I want to play at least two or three solid years with good numbers and wins as a team then get my shot in the NBA. I don’t care about individual awards, I just want to win.”
The former Northwest Cabarrus star has accepted that it won’t be without a challenge, something he’s more than ready to take on. After leading the Qatari tier in scoring, the weight of expectation will fall squarely on his shoulders.
He already has one thing going for him, though; he loves Qatar. “I love the adjustment and I love Qatar as well,” Ameer notes. And, with a laugh, “I love overseas!”
Hardly means he’s planning to stay there, however.