BLUE MOUNTAIN – Jarvis Fisher’s basketball shoes are just a tad bit brighter than those of his Blue Mountain College teammates. Then again, Bobbie Jean Johnson was the kind of person that could brighten up the darkest of days.
Johnson, Fisher’s maternal grandmother, died of kidney cancer in June at the age of 61, and the Blue Mountain College senior from Pine Bluff, Ark., decided he wanted to do something special to honor her memory. Thus the shoes.
While all the rest of the Toppers are wearing navy or black shoes during the 2013-14 season, Fisher is sporting a pair of bright gold Nikes trimmed in pink in memory of Johnson.
“She was a really sweet person,” says Fisher, BMC’s all-time leading scorer with 1,110 points. “She would open her home to anybody and would welcome anyone at any time into her home. She wanted to make everybody feel better, and usually did.”
Fisher, a 6-0 guard, spent many days and nights with his three brothers – and many other relatives – in his grandmother’s home while his parents worked.
“She was tough,” he says. “She had to be to keep up with all of us. She’d get on us in a minute, but then she would smile at us and our whole day would brighten up.”
Fisher, who is averaging 12.8 points a game for BMC this season and has a career average of 11.8, said his really bright Nikes remind him not only of his grandmother but also of how hard she battled against cancer.
“She fought it for about a year,” he says. “I think she probably wanted to just give in every now and then but she wouldn’t because of all of us. Like I said, she was tough.”
BMC coach J.D. Parker, usually a stickler for uniformity, fully supports Fisher’s efforts.
“The shoes are a little different but the reasoning behind it is strong,” he says. “Jarvis is the kind of player who would want to do something like this, and I think it’s important that all our players understand that there are things a lot more important than basketball.”
Fisher says his teammates like the gold and pink shoes. “They think they’re cool,” he says. “But they also know why I’m doing it.”
The Blue Mountain women and men play host to Williams Baptist at 5:30 p.m. today, then play a pair of Southern States Athletic Conference games at home against Southern Wesleyan at 5:30 p.m. Friday and Faulkner at 3 p.m. Saturday.