But Chones downplayed his basketball life at home so his triplet sons and two daughters could discover sports organically.
“They came home one day when they were 7 or 8 and said, ‘These guys at school were saying you’re Jim Chones,’ ” says the Cavs radio network analyst. “ ’They gave us cards for you to autograph.’ ”
Still, Kendall found basketball. After playing at Colgate University and nearly a decade professionally in Europe, he returned home to lead the Cavs Academy, the organization’s youth summer camps held weekly from June to August.
It’s a full circle moment for Jim, who coached his own summer camps at Cuyahoga Community College and in each of Cleveland’s municipal wards.
“I knew how to play, but I didn’t know how to teach,” says Jim. “[Kendall] has a coach’s mentality.” In honor of Father’s Day, Jim and Kendall share lessons they’ve learned from each other and from a bond they’ve forged on the court.
Kendall Chones: My dad was my favorite player growing up. I used to take his autographed cards and sell them to my buddies at school.
Jim Chones: I never put up my trophies, not even my first team All-American honors [from Marquette University]. I didn’t want my kids to try to live up to the trophies. I never even pushed sports. I pushed academics.
JC: One day they came home and said, “We want to play basketball.” I said, “Are you sure? It’s a very difficult sport to play well.”
KC: The main thing I took away from him was work ethic. The first thing he taught us was to put in the right amount of work and to work smart.
JC: I come from the Vince Lombardi, Bobby Knight mentality. I would swear at them and penalize them, until I saw that I was scaring them more than I was helping. I had to learn to coach.
KC: When I was playing Europe, we’d be in a 6,000-seat arena in a village two hours north of Helsinki and not many people would be there. Or we’d be in Israel and bombings would be going on. A lot of guys came and went. They couldn’t do it. I would think back to the discipline I learned from my dad. Basketball got me there, but the things my dad taught me allowed me to survive.
JC: The fundamentals of the game are the same — pass, dribble and shoot — but the emphasis has changed with the impact of the 3-point shot. Kendall’s camps teach all the things that make these kids relevant, including character-building, confidence-building and how to struggle and overcome.
JC: Basketball is life. What is life but a continuous lesson on how to be what I know and who I know I am? Playing sports makes everything else in life easy.
More Info: cavs.com/cavsacademy
10:00 AM EST
June 13, 2018