At first glance of a video of Jeffrey Harrison playing a game of pick-up basketball in Spokane, Washington, my initial perception would cause me to question his attire. I mean, who would wear an authentic Chicago Bulls uniform and a pair of Air Jordan Retro XI ‘Breds’ in a game of pick-up basketball? But yet this very question, based upon an initial sensual perception derivitive of what I physically see with my eyes, could trigger a perceived conclusion that is so far from the truth. Not only is an ill informed conclusion unfair, but given societies current social climate, perception and our response to certain media have the potential to cause more harm than imagined. Not to sound cliche, but as NBA veteran Dennis Scott states throughout a recent feature video of Jeffrey, “don’t judge a book by it’s cover.”
A short snippet of Jeffrey playing ball was originally tweeted back in July and over a short period time this video went viral, retweeted in access of ten thousand times. From memes with Jeffrey’s body and a crying Jordan face to FaceBook post, this story quickly took a turn for the worst. Major media outlets, including online publications and tv networks, along with celebrities contributed to the viral spread of this footage which received a mass amount of negative response from followers. Did you ever think how your comments could emotionally and/or mentally affect others? Therefore, lets get to know the man beneath the jersey and not fall victim to perception.
— SB Nation (@SBNation) July 6, 2016
NBA veteran and former Georgia Tech alum, Dennis Scott and NBA TV have started a series of features named ‘A Grass Roots Moment’. In the inaugural feature, Scott travels to Spokane, Washington to meet Jeffrey as the two discuss his passion for the game of basketball, the Chicago Bulls and of course, Michael Jordan. During an interview with Jeffrey’s mother, she becomes emotional as she describes how at the age of four, her son was diagnosed with autism. The two also discuss how Jeffrey’s passion for the sport has given him purpose…a form of motivation. Hearing and seeing Jeffrey discuss basketball, you can immediately make an informed conclusion that he is indeed a true expert when it comes to the game. From key playoff moments, to signature moves, his knowledge of the sport is evidently extensive. What was once a negative has now been turned into a positively amazing story, which inspires me and I’m sure has inspired thousands of others around the world. And to top it all off…Michael Jordan heard about Jeffrey’s story and personally called him…not only did he personally thank Jeffrey, but the GOAT(yes I said it) sent an amazing care package with items ranging from apparel to retro sneakers.
The next time you think about pressing the “like”, “share”or “retweet” button and before you drop a comment or repost a link, think about the possible implications of your actions. Consider the fact that by taking such action we subconsciously become “Internet Bullies”. So many videos and photos are shared every single minute but instead of mockery and negativity, spread messages of inspiration and truth. Don’t live a life based upon perception and most importantly embrace passion. Salute to Dennis Scott, NBA TV, Michael Jordan and Darnay Tripp.