The562’s coverage of Jordan Athletics is sponsored by John Ross, Class of 2013
When you walk onto Ron Massey Court at Long Beach Jordan High you’ll see banners hanging on the gym walls that represent each of the Panthers’ CIF championship banners.
Now Ortege Jenkins has joined them after a ceremony before the boys’ basketball game on Thursday night.
Jordan took time to honor Jenkins, who was a part of two of those championship teams, by retiring his jersey to join some of the Panther greats that have come out of J-Town.
Jenkins was a two-sport star during his time at Jordan from 1992-1996 where he was the starting quarterback and a star on the hardwood. He went on to play football collegiately at Arizona and professionally in Canada.
When he took the microphone, Jenkins was quick to bring everything back to Jordan where he got his start by focusing on his education and graduating college.
“At the time when I was in the process to get my scholarship,” Jenkins said. “I got into a program called the Princeton Review that prepared you for the SAT which was critical for me. Without that push and that guidance, it probably wouldn’t have happened.”
With students, friends and family in attendance (including Jordan's NFL products John Ross and John Timu) current Jordan basketball coach Chris Francis took the podium to talk about the example Jenkins has set for current athletes.
“OJ exemplifies what we’re trying to teach our young guys,” Francis said. “And that is he did it the right way. He was a student athlete. He went to school, he did his work, he went to college. He graduated, now he’s coming back and giving back to his community.”
Jenkins plans to continue to provide for his alma mater by helping support student athletes to help provide training and more.
“I want to provide strength and conditioning programs for inner city kids who can come and get real training for free,” Jenkins said. “It won’t cost the kids and parents, we want to give back and that’s my progression. I’m working on that.”