As a former sports editor for The University of Southern Mississippi’s school newspaper, “The Student Printz,” I often found myself chasing around collegiate athletes and administrators for my next headline. Just as coincidence would have it, Dr. Samuel Jones, former basketball standout, and one of the players I often enjoyed interviewing, is once again on my radar. With a new outlook on life, a new career, and his first book under his belt, I was able to connect with Dr. Samuel Jones to find out where life has taken him over the years, and to inquire more about his book entitled, “The Man I Never Knew.” Follow the entire interview with Dr. Samuel Jones below.
1up Atlanta Examiner: Explain why you feel people should read, “The Man I Never Knew”?
Sam Jones: I believe people should read “The Man I Never Knew” because it’s an inspiration story in the mist of sadness, disappointment, and hopelessness. I believe my story is very thought provoking and several of my experiences should be able to resonate with readers. This is a story I’ve been waiting to write for a long time because I want my life to be an example for my readers that might be facing some of the life’s toughest challenges. I hope my readers will agree that it’s definitely a story that will make you laugh, it will make you cry, it will make you reflect, and last, it will make you have hope.
1up Atlanta Examiner: How would you like to be remembered 30 years after you are gone?
Sam Jones: I would like to be remembered as a person that always treated people the way I wanted to be treated. I want leave wisdom and insight to everyone that I came in contact with. I just want to be an example of how to accomplish your dreams but still never forgot where I came from. To me, that is truly success.
1up Atlanta Examiner: What is the most important message you have for individuals who currently feel they have no one to turn to for guidance, like you had with your grandmother?
Sam Jones: For anyone that feels they have no one to turn to for guidance, my message for them is to let them know that they already have everything they need. First, I would suggest that they try to examine who really has their best interest. Most of the time, we surround ourselves with people that think like we do, act the way we do, etc. … It takes a strong person of character to surround yourself with people that that want the best for you, or people that challenge you to be your best. So start there by surrounding yourself with people that has your best interest in mind. Secondly, I would suggest that they reflect on the people that has played a major role in their life. If those relationships were positive, then think about how much they want you to be a success. If those relationships were negative, then use those experiences to be the fuel to boost you to your next phase in life. I believe people need to break the cycles of the negative experiences but they have to be motivated. So it’s always important to use what you already have instead of wishing for what others have because they might not understand the price that’s paid. When you pay your own price, then it’s good to take appreciation in knowing that you can be a person of guidance for someone else.
1up Atlanta Examiner: I hear you’re involved in a lot of public speaking, what do you usually talk about during your speeches?
Sam Jones: Well, it normally depends on the setting is for each engagement. One thing I always try to do not matter the setting, I try to share some of my personal experiences so that my audience will have some basic understanding of the journey I’ve traveled so far. I believe I have an interesting background being a former college athlete with being involved with some of the other things I’m in. I normally talk about what I’ve learned from former jobs, what I’ve learned from athletic arena, what I’ve learned by continuing to pursue an education and how those experiences assist me in serving today. My speaking engagements always seem to resonate with my audience in some way.
1up Atlanta Examiner: Being that your grandmother was very inspirational in your life, how do people usually respond, when you tell them that you called her Madear, a name similar to the Tyler Perry Character?
Sam Jones: When I share that with people, the first thing they want to know “was my grandmother similar in the behavior of Tyler Perry’s character?” I would say that my grandmother was similar because she always cared about you no matter what you did, but she would always say something to you that you will always remember. I share some of those interesting stories in my book. Some of the most spirited comments I’ve received from some of my readers is that ‘they love my grandmother’ based on the stories in the book. That’s normally the first thing they say.
1up Atlanta Examiner: What feedback have you received from those who have read “the Man I Never Knew”?
Sam Jones: Below are some of the comments I’ve received from my readers:
What a great job of Dr. Jones expressing his thoughts & feelings about his past experiences in “The Man I Never Knew: How Leadership Can be Developed by Faith, Family and Friends”.
Two things I noticed right off – Dr. Jones did his research, using examples of other well-known leaders in history; and he demonstrated that he had an extraordinary recollection of his past and the people who meant so much to his mental & spiritual growth. The thing that was most impressive was that his story was so much from the heart, and it was Christ centered.
I hope that means as much to other readers as it did to me. I can’t tell you how proud I am of this new author! I enjoyed reading his story – what a superb job of writing! Dr. Howell C. Garner
Mississippi Community College Foundation
Former President of Copiah-Lincoln Community College
Dr. Jones has the unique ability to challenge and inspires others with his story. Sam’s passion and commitment to excellence is contagious and exactly what we need to see more of in today’s leaders.
Dr. Chuck Benigno
Superintendent Laurel School District
Dr. Jones draws on his personal experiences to motivate those around him to find the leader within themselves. He shares pearls of wisdom he learned from his grandmother, spiritual and biblical parables, and personal growth stories. “The Man I Never Knew” will inspire you to look within yourself and to those around you for the strength and inspiration that you’ve had all along.
This book is an incredible testimony of a young man’s life. While reading, I laughed, cried, and reflected on my own life. This book is a great read with beautiful stories and wonderful life lessons. I highly recommend it.
1up Atlanta Examiner: Do you still keep in touch with any of your former team mates from high school, college, or the team that you played with in Finland?
Sam Jones: I try my best to keep up with all my former teammates that I’ve played basketball with. The use of technology definitely makes that easier today than 10-15 years ago.
1up Atlanta Examiner: As you know, I’m an advocate for social entrepreneurship. What is your personal outlook on the promotion of social entrepreneurship to high school and college students?
Sam Jones: My personal outlook on the promotion of social entrepreneurship is very exciting. I hope that high school and college students can look at social entrepreneurship as opportunities rather than just entertainment. I always encourage students to follow their dreams and don’t be afraid to fail. Students are sometimes afraid to take chances. I encourage them to always know that no matter who they’re working for to always think like you’re your own boss. When that happens, social entrepreneurship will follow them for the rest of their lives and they’re gifts will always make room for them. In other words, no matter how bad the economy is, they will always have opportunities.
1up Atlanta Examiner: What is the best way for people to contact you and follow your work?
The best way people to contact me is
My website is www.drsamueljones.com
My twitter name is @drsjones
1up Atlanta Examiner: Do you have any current or future projects you would like the readers to know about?
Sam Jones: I’m currently working on my 2nd book in which is should ready by Jan.2013. I’m also continuing the speaker circuit talking about leadership, my book, crisis management, mentoring training and other important topics.