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Former Golden State Warrior Monta Ellis Shoots $60, 000 Gift To JSU Sonic Boom Of South

(JACKSON, Miss.) — The Sonic Boom of the South received a $60,000
donation from Monta Ellis, a former NBA shooting guard nicknamed the
“Mississippi Bullet.”

A Jackson native, Ellis spent 12 seasons in the NBA, which included
playing for the Milwaukee Bucks and Indiana Pacers.

“I am always overjoyed and humbled when anyone donates to our students and
program. This particular donation is unique because Monta Ellis and I grew
up together in the same neighborhood,” said Dr. Roderick Little, director
of bands.

Together, the young men attended Lanier High School in Jackson. There,
Ellis was named a McDonald’s All-American and first-team Parade
All-American. Little was on his way to becoming one of the youngest band
directors in JSU history.

In 2005,  Ellis was selected 40th overall NBA draft pick by the Golden
State Warriors. As a rookie, he “wet up the court” well before the “Splash
Brothers” dripped on the scene.

Little and Ellis walked different paths, both being equally fruitful.
However, they could have easily had unfavorable outcomes.

“We attended the same secondary schools that centered on indigence,” said
Little, also an assistant professor of music.

“One very fundamental fact that people may overlook is that stellar people
come out of those environments and go on to be very successful outside and
within their communities.”

Today, Little and Ellis still share a mutual love and respect for one
another. Recently, the two reconnected through Ashley Robinson, vice
president and director of Athletics.

During the conversation, Ellis expressed his support for his classmate and
the Boom. He then followed his sentiments with a philanthropic gift.

“Anybody from Jackson can tell you what the Sonic Boom means to our city.
Growing up, kids either want to be a J-5 drum major or J-Sette. I believe
in what Dr. Little is doing with the Boom, and I want to do whatever I can
to keep making it stronger and give more students a chance to be part of
that legacy and earn an education,” said Ellis, according to Sonic Boom
media.

Little shared that as youths they had dreams of transcending their
surroundings through their talents. And it appears they have accomplished
just that.

“Although he is an athlete and I’m a musician, we have our common
connection of similar outcomes that we hope will be examples for the
youth,” he said.

What is also important, noted Little, is that the NBA baller has not
forgotten his roots.

“No matter where success may lead you, never forget where you came from
and help others if you’re fortunate enough to do so.,” he said.