• Jackson Hughey (left) and his brother, Jake, pose for a photo with Grizzlies center Jonas Valancunias.

Covington High junior Jackson Hughey, who is battling a second bout of cancer, recently received a special gift from the community and the Covington Parks and Recreation Department.

Following Jackson Hughey’s Baller Challenge on Feb. 8 at the Covington Sportsplex officials arranged for Hughey and his family to attend a Memphis Grizzlies basketball game on Feb. 12 at FedExForum.

And he wasn’t just another spectator.


Before the game started Hughey met multiple Grizzlies players, including standout guard Ja Morant, who is the favorite to win Rookie of the Year. Hughey also served as a ball boy during pregame warmups, shagging loose balls and throwing them to members of his favorite team. Before that Hughey was recognized on the video scoreboard.

“That was pretty cool,” Hughey said.

Hughey brought a basketball to the game and it was signed by most of the Grizzlies players. He also posed for photos with players like Dillon Brooks, Brandon Clarke and Jonas Valanciunas.

Morant, Hughey’s favorite player, made a point to meet Hughey.

“He’s just insane, crazy good,” Hughey said when asked why Morant is his favorite player.

It was the Grizzlies’ last game before the all-star break and things went well. Morant finished with 20 points and nine assists and the Grizzlies beat Portland 111-104 to hold on to a playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Hughey sat on the fifth row with his mother, Deanne; brother, Jake; sister, Jan Claire; and family friend, Troy Bushley. Jason, Jackson’s father, was out of town for work and unable to attend the game.

“It was a really cool experience that I’ll probably never get to do again,” Hughey said.

Jeff Ireland
Author: Jeff Ireland