Joe Bright has played basketball mostly his entire life. After years of playing the sport and advancing all the way to the NCAA Division I level, he has brought all of the skills and lessons he has learned from the game to his new occupation: Trainer at his own Basketball Academy.
Bright has been training the youth around Big Spring for the last couple of years inside any gym that he could. Now, there will be a new home for the Joe Bright Basketball Academy within a mile of the school.
Following months of working with a realtor to find the perfect spot for his growing business, the Big Spring basketball guru has decided to build the first permanent home for his athletic training facility at 1317 E. Sixth Street.
“As soon as I saw it, I just thought to myself, ‘Man, this is it,” Bright said.
With that new location comes a new company name and the Basketball Academy will soon become J.B. Sports Academy.
“With J.B. Sports Academy is just like any academy where you would send your child,” Bright said. “Yes, they’re going there to work on their craft but at the same time it’s going to be dealing with life lessons. I have a business plan in place where we’ll be doing things other than just training. We want to be a place where they have an opportunity to get out of school and come here and do their homework. I’m working with some great organizations where we will have some critical thinking skills challenges on Wednesday’s and on the weekends we try to do different programs.”
The first two students to be trained by Bright were current Big Spring basketball players Kaegen Mitchell and Kyler Seymore. Both of those players still train with Bright and have recruited some of their teammates to do the same as well. Bright serves as an assistant coach on the Steers’ varsity team and is always there to give advice whether it is in-game or during practice.
The old Howard Hawk has taught players such as Mitchell and Seymore a lot about the game and continues to challenge them and not let them grow complacent with their game.
“He’s a great coach,” Seymore said. “One of the things I love about him is that he holds you accountable and he doesn’t take anything for granted. He wants you to be there at every practice, he wants you to work you butt off and if you’re not giving it your all, then he’ll set you straight. He makes it feel like a team. No one is favored and he makes all five guys out on the court really feel like a team.”
Bright also knows the nuances of the game and has experience playing every position on the court from his time on the hardwood. This allows him to detail and construct his workouts to fit the particular player that he is training. Those personalized workouts are unique and not something that you would get from every trainer.
Mitchell has recently made the position switch to point guard and that is where he will be starting when the Big Spring basketball season tips-off later this year. Bright knew about the switch and has now been helping Mitchell adapt to his new position running the floor.
“I changed my position so me and him have been working on reading the court better and getting my coordination down,” Mitchell said. “He always motivates us and gets us where we need to be.”
Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent shutdown of mostly every small business, Bright had been forced to stop training his students. This was tough not only on the players, but on Bright as well because of the change in schedule to someone who seems to be very routine-oriented and focused on doing the job to the best of his ability.
Bright has been back in the gym training his students since June 18 after being forced to take a hiatus. He has been training and teaching smaller class sizes but says his business has picked up even more after the virus hit.
The new location will welcome in even more new students and will surely catch the attention of any local parents that are thinking about signing their child up for sports. Even though Bright does train high school players, most of his time training is spent on the younger kids who are just getting into the game.
After playing for Howard College and now being a teacher and coach at Big Spring, Bright’s preferred location for his business was inside of Big Spring’s city limits.
“That was like my No. 1 thing,” Bright said. “I definitely wanted it in Big Spring. If I couldn’t have it in Big Spring, that was fine but at the same time that was basically my No. 1 goal.”
While the headquarters will be in Big Spring, young athletes from Coahoma and Forsan routinely travel into Steer Country to be trained by the great Joe Bright.
Bright has been a hardworking and determined member of this community for years now and he is asking for some help with raising funds so that he can complete his building as soon as possible.
“I was just hoping that I can get some fundraisers or some donations and possibly even some grants so that I can have some help building the facility,” Bright said.
If you are looking to donate, find out more about classes, or have some questions about the J.B. Sports Academy, contact Joe Bright at 763-237-4800.
Shawn Moran is the sports writer at the Big Spring Herald. To contact him, e-mail email@example.com or call 432-263-7331.