St. Joseph's University freshman point guard Xzayvier Brown has a lot to be grateful for. Last February, Brown led Roman Catholic High School to the Philadelphia Catholic League championship, scoring a game high 20 points - including a buzzer-beating three to send the game to overtime. This fall he moved from Roman's Center City locale up to the leafy northwest Philly campus of St. Joe's to begin his Division 1 basketball career, playing in front of his family and friends in the city he loves. It's for these reasons we asked Xzayvier and his sisters, Parker and Nyler, to help us introduce the Air Jordan 11 Retro "Gratitude" with a special photo shoot in the St. Joe's locker room.
"I've played basketball all over the country, but there is no place like Philly." Xzayvier is a city kid through and through, crediting his time taking on players of all ages on the city's playgrounds with building his resolve and ambition. "My experiences from playing (on the playgrounds in the city) over the years," he said, "and looking at the history that’s come before me has me just wanting to keep chasing greatness.”
Family is what made Xzayvier spurn offers from big time programs like USC, Marquette and VCU to stay home and play for St. Joe's. It wasn't just the fact that he had family on the team (his stepdad Justin Scott is an assistant coach), it was the comfort of still being around his family and support system. As Xzayvier said, "It's a dream come true to get to play at home in front of family and friends."
In short, Xzayvier Brown wanted to give back to the city and the people who had given so much to him. "It's cool having my family and friends, all the old coaches, people who watched me grow up being able to see me play," he said. "I'm just grateful to get to be home close to my family and watch my sisters grow up."
The Air Jordan 11 Retro "Gratitude" will be available on Saturday, December 9th @ 10:00am in full family sizes, from Infant size 1 to Men's size 18, in-store & online at lapstoneandhammer.com.
Photos and video by Brian Mermelstein
Models: Xzayvier Brown and Parker & Nyler Scott