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2m05, sprawling arms, a sense of blockshots and rebound without flaws. Shadow player par excellence, despite spectacular actions, Khari Jaxon played a few years in France, in the second half of the 90s, including two seasons in Toulouse. His career has also taken him to the four corners of the American continent, but also to Oceania and China. He had especially marked the public by his verticality, and the profusion of blocks that he has assaulted his opponents throughout his career. A curious and open-minded boy, Khari Jaxon was destined to travel the globe. His passport was the orange ball.
Jaxon or Jackson? His name, originally, was written « Jackson », but his grandfather decided to change the spelling to stand out from a name that had been given to African-American slaves in the nineteenth century to signify a belonging to a slave master (The Honolulu Advertiser 22 January 1992).
A native of Detroit, Michigan, where he grew up with his mother Jeannette Thompson, Khari Jaxon joined California at the college entrance, getting closer to his father, Cepheus.
He joined one of the most prestigious high schools in the state, Los Angeles High School in 1987. Until 1989, he wears the jersey of the Romans, with which he reveals himself as one of the best players of his team , despite a wrist fracture that will keep him away for some time from the court. His 18 points and 10 rebounds per game make him a player courted by several universities, including California (Cal State Long Beach, Southern Cal, Pepperdine, St Jose State).
Finally, it is not along the Pacific that Khari Jaxon will study, preferring to choose New Mexico. He joined the eponymous University in Albuquerque and joined the pack of « Lobos ».
Unfortunately, not everything goes as planned, Khari Jaxon can not join the team. Indeed, he has not met the academic requirements and his grades do not allow him to participate in training and NCAA championship with the Lobos.
He must be content to sit on the bench for the entire 1989-1990 season.
Finally joining the team in 1990, Khari Jaxon quickly became the number one defensive weapon of the Lobos. Its wingspan allows it to deflect many opposing shots, and its rebound presence gives it control of the racket. He averages in three academic seasons 9.7 points to 57%, 6.4 rebounds and especially 2.4 blocks.
Noteworthy include a reference match in 1992 against the University of Hawaii, winning 79 to 67, where Khari had compiled 13 points, 14 rebounds and 9 blocks.
Khari Jaxon and the New Mexico Lobos in NCAA, he wears No. 33
Beyond his defensive qualities, he does not spoil anything by converting nearly two-thirds of the shots he tries.
But this is not enough to access the NBA, and he’s not drafted after his university career. For Marty Blake, director of NBA Scouting, Khari Jaxon lacks the size to fight in the paint against the muscular centers the Great League, and his outside shot is not consistent enough to constitute a serious threat to a wingman position. In order to start his professional career, he has no choice but to opt for an American minor league or for the international leap.
And it’s the Continental Basketball Association that will focus on Khari Jaxon first. He was drafted in the summer of 1993 by the Rapid City Thrillers, in 42nd choice on the 3rd round. However, before wearing the jersey of the franchise, he joined the summer league USBL. It’s the Stingrays of Palm Beach, Florida, who offer him a first professional experience.
He was brillant in a team finishing at the bottom of this league (6-18) with 22.7 points per game and 2.3 blocks. He also is elected rookie of the year, and in the first All-USBL Team, alongside reference players like Darrell Armstrong (who will evolve notably at Orlando Magic) and Ken Bannister (former NBA player who will make a great career in Europe). Khari Jaxon is also named in the All-USBL defensive team 1993, highlighting its dissuasive qualities.
Across the Atlantic
It’s time to for Khari Jaxon: stay in the United States to play CBA with the Rapid City Thrillers, or cross the Atlantic Ocean to discover the professional world abroad.
Advised by his agent Bill Neff, Khari Jaxon decides to accept a lucrative contract that brings him to Turkey. It will be in Darüşşafaka, coached by Erman Kunter, that Khari will discover European basketball.
The start of the season is more than adequate from an individual point of view, with Khari Jaxon scoring 20 points per game, with 8 rebounds. It’s all the more remarkable because, as Bill Neff told the Albuquerque Journal, « Jaxon is taking a lot of traps because the other American on the team (Cornelius Holden) has a low score. » Unfortunately, Darüşşafaka does not keep his financial commitments and Khari Jaxon leaves Turkey before the end of the season.
Detour through Venezuela, Panteras de Miranda. This will be the first of three Venezuelan clubs that Khari Jaxon will be attending in his career. He scores 15.2 points and 6.3 rebounds per game during this first South American experience.
Back to USA in May 1994. The Detroit native is invited to a camp with the Pistons, hoping to have a contract in the NBA. Unfortunately, he will not have the opportunity to stay with the team after the practice, due once again to his lack of size and lack of play at the post. Assistant coach John Hammond declaring that « if he goes into the NBA, he will be 3 (forward). There is no possibility he plays 4 (power forward) « . And not having a consistent outside shot is crippling …
The NBA closing its doors again, Khari Jaxon takes his backpack and goes to the city of lovers, the serene Venice. It was nevertheless be the space of a single game with the jersey of San Benedetto Venezia, the December 22th, 1994. He will score 3 points and take 5 rebounds in 12 minutes against Udine in the league of Italy.
We then find Khari Jaxon on the other side of the Atlantic, in Argentina. There, he wears the jersey of Pico FC, club of the city of General Pico. The time for him to compile 19.1 pts at 51%, 6.2 rebounds, 1 blockshot per game in 11 games.
The 1994-1995 season does not end there, our globetrotter stamping his visa again to go to the Dominican Republic, to San Lazaro. He finishes champion of the country beating Mauricio Baez 4 wins to 1 in the final.
Three different jerseys in one season for Khari Jaxon, who traveled between Italy and South America. The price to pay to make his place in the basketball professional level.
For the second consecutive summer, Khari Jaxon joined Venezuela to continue to develop. It is Bravos de Lara who welcome him. Dominating at this competition level, he has 17.1 points and 8.6 rebounds. and take the opportunity to set a record that still stands, 8 blockshots against the Toros on June 3, 1995.
Crowned with a status of All-Star in Venezuela, and still despite its lack of size, Khari Jaxon is invited to the veteran camp of the Golden State Warriors, to try again to make a place in the NBA. It will unfortunately be in vain. The dream of NBA has passed, and now it’s a return to Europe. And it is in Toulouse in ProB, that Khari puts down his suitcases.
Welcome to France
Khari Jaxon arrives in the middle of the season at Toulouse Spacer’s in an ambitious team that unfortunately missed his ProB championship start. Replacing Phil Zvenberger, he brings the explosiveness that was missing Spacer’s to pass a course. Alongside Christophe Soulé, David Booth, he won the ProB title with good statistics (20 points, 9 rebounds, 3 against the blocks). But despite the ProB title obtained in the playoffs, it is Chalon sur Saone, n°1 team of the season, who reached the ProA in 1996.
This first successful contact also allowed the spectators as well as his teammates to note his athletic qualities above average:
« There was one thing that surprised me in his game: he had so much jump that when he shot, he did not respect the fundamentals of basketball that requires the ball to achieve an almost perfect curve …
His balloon was therefore from very high (because of his jump) and almost spun down (!!!) to the basket and therefore without the nice curve that we work all our lives as a basketball player! It always amazed me all the more because he had a good percentage of success! «
David Caulet, his teammate at the Spacer’s in Toulouse in 1995-1996
For the following season, Khari Jaxon stays in Toulouse, in a reinforced team around Graylin Warner, Tobjorn Gerkhe, Laurent Rufier or Forrest McKenzie. From the start, Toulouse set the tone by facing the reigning European champion, Panathinaikos Athens. Despite the logical defeat, Khari Jaxon does well by scoring 22 points against a high-level European defense. A good omen for the rest of the season, but also for his career.
The Spacer’s dominate the 1996-97 season and advance to ProA, finishing n°1 in the ProB championship.
In the playoffs, Toulouse fails against Aix-Maurienne in the finals and is not be able to win a back to back title. Khari Jaxon is still very effective this season: 17.6 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks per game.
Strong ProB player, Khari Jaxon is facing the same reproaches that have closed the doors of the NBA: he is not strong enough to fight in the racket, and his outside game is not consistent enough to pass to the wing. Because of its shortcomings, Spacer’s do not keep it for the benefit of the muscular James Scott.
Khari Jaxon remains in the antechamber of the French elite at NPO Tours. The sports project is ambitious but the finances do not follow (nor the results for that matter), and after 19 matches (17.3 points, 9.4 rebounds and 3.3 blocks), he leaves the club which is at bankruptcy.
Finally in ProA
Now a safe bet for the ProB thanks to his solid statistics in Toulouse and Tours, Khari Jaxon finally passes the gap of the elite by winning a contract to finish the season 1997-1998 in the elite.
Khari Jaxon joins the ALM Evreux in ProA. Benefiting from the injury of Claude Williams, he finally proves that he has his place in the France basketball’s elite by playing 5 games at 16.2 points and 9 rebounds. The ALM stays in ProA at the end of the season, but Khari Jaxon is not kept despite its solid statistics.
As regularly, Khari Jaxon takes advantage of the summer period to perfect his game in different leagues. In the summer of 1998, he joined Purefoods Tender Juicy Hotdogs (!!!).
Behind this name so tasty hides a basketball team of the Filipino championship. But Khari Jaxon has the opportunity to play only one meeting of the Commissioner’s Cup of the Philippines Championship on June 5, 1998, before getting injured. Six points scored, that’s about it. After spending the summer to heal, Khari returns to France, in ProA.
Fun Fact. In Montpellier, Khari Jaxon plays alongside two forty-year-olds, 42-year-old Hervé Dubuisson, who raises basketball to try to save the game, and Ron Anderson, 41, a former Sixers player.
Back in France in Montpellier, coached by Freddy Hufnagel and playing with a legend, Hervé Dubuisson. Some predict the team a bad season, and this will unfortunately be the case. Khari Jaxon is doing well with 15.1 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game.
At the start of the 1999-2000 season, with his new status in the elite, Khari Jaxon was tested at CSP Limoges in August. After unsuccessful tests, the CSP sets its sights on Harper Williams, and Khari Jaxon is forced to seek a new contract.
And it will be at the other end of the world: he’s being tested at the Perth Wildcats, in the Australian championship. It’s his former teammate in New Mexico, Luc Longley, champion with the Bulls, who offers him to the Australian team. But the 10-day contract does not lead to something more durable, and it’s again in France that Khari Jaxon will evolve for the rest of the season, for his fifth club in France.
Khari Jaxon arrives during the season in Hyères-Toulon in ProB, to replace Brent Dabbs, he plays in the final 19 league games and bring the HTV in the semifinals of the playoffs. This new French experience allows him to rebound well after the failed experience in Australia. He again compiles flattering statistics with 12.6 points, but especially 10.3 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game.
New millennium, new countries
Khari Jaxon tries a new experience in Australia for the new millennium, after visiting Perth the year before. He is welcomed to the Brisbane Bullets, a team of the bottom of the NBL championship for the season 2000-2001. But it’s not succesful, Khari Jaxon playing 16 games at 3.8 points (30%), 7 rebounds and 1.4 blocks. Brisbane will end with a poor record of 4 wins for 24 losses …
Khari Jaxon is recruited during the season by the Winling team, in Hong Kong, then poorly in the rankings. He joins the team in April 2001 at the same time as Darren Henrie, a strong shooter who played in CBA (which holds including a record of 9/14 to 3 points on a match).
In their first match against Liaoning Hunters (China), they mark the meeting their footprint (38 points for Henrie, 32 for Jaxon).
Hong Kong participates in the Asian Basketball Confederation, and finishes in 4th place of the competition.
At the beginning of the 2001-2002 season, Khari Jaxon joins Espanol from Talca, Chile. This is the opportunity to discover a new country in South America. However, he does not play any official match, leaving the club a week after signing his contract.
This 2001-2002 season marks the end of Khari’s professional career. Indeed, he spent several months without playing before finding a contract in his home country, the United States. He joins Sioux Falls Skyforce in CBA in January 2002 for three games, and fifteen minutes, three rebounds and one block in total.
Then, after this short passage in the United States, he leaves the country to finish the season again in Venezuela, with Marinos de Oriente.
Finally, to finish his career, Khari returns one last time in Asia, joining for a summer league the Chinese team of Tianjin Steel.
Khari Jaxon’s professional career ends at the end of this latest experience in China. Since returning to the United States, he works on Atlanta.
From California to China via South America, Oceania, Europe and especially France in a decade of career, we can say that Khari Jaxon has been around the globe . Too light to play 4, not enough shooter to play 3, he could never push the doors of the NBA. Yet his career remains singular, that of a fighter with sprawling arms, impeccable timing and extraordinary explosiveness: everywhere he went, he enthused the crowds.
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[…] Hoop Diary s’internationalise aussi puisque l’on peut retrouver le parcours d’un américain marquant de l’histoire des Spacer’s Khari Jaxon, en VF (Khari Jaxon, blockshot Globetrotter), mais aussi en anglais . […]