Valarie Jenkins

Disc Golf

Served as envoy

  • 2015  –  Russia

Valarie Jenkins is a professional disc golfer, currently the number one ranked female disc golfer in the world. Growing up in a disc golf family, she was around the sport from an early age. She began her professional career in 2003 after placing second in the Amateur World Championships. Valarie has won 13 majors during the course of her career, including three World Championships. During the three years that Valarie was the world champion (2007-2009), she won 22 tournaments that were National Tour Events or Majors. Valarie remains one of only four women in the history of Disc Golf to have won at least 3 PDGA World Championships.

Crissa “Ace” Jackson

Harlem Globetrotters Basketball

Served as envoy

  • 2017  –  Estonia
  • 2017  –  Lithuania

In 2015, Former Point Loma women’s basketball player Crissa Jackson (2010-12) signed a contract to play for the Harlem Globetrotters. Hailing from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Crissa “Ace” Jackson was the 13th female player in the history of the Globetrotters, joining current female stars TNT Maddox and Sweet J Ekworomadu. Ace played her first two years of college ball at Savannah State University (Ga.), where she quickly grabbed the starting point guard job as a freshman and led the team in three-pointers and assists. She led the team in scoring and assists as a sophomore and was named to the NCAA Division I All-Independent All-American second team. The 5-4 standout guard then transferred to Point Loma Nazarene University for her final two seasons, leading the Sea Lions in points (15.4 ppg), three-pointers (1.4 3pg) and assists (4.3 apg) as a junior, and in three-pointers (1.5 3pg), assists (3.8 apg) and steals (2.7 spg) as a senior.

Corey “Thunder” Law

Harlem Globetrotters Basketball

Served as envoy

  • 2018  –  Belgium
  • 2018  –  Germany

Thunder has been a record-breaking machine in his early career with the Globetrotters, currently owning four Guinness World Records titles. His most recent record was made in celebration of Guinness World Records Day on Nov. 9, 2017. On this day, Thunder earned the Guinness World Record title for the highest basketball shot made upwards at 50 feet 1 inch. Since becoming a Globetrotters’ star, he also set records for the farthest basketball shot made while sitting on the court at 58 feet 9.1 inches, the farthest basketball shot under-one-leg at 52 feet 5.1 inches and made the farthest basketball shot backward ever recorded by Guinness World Records at 82 feet 2 inches.

Thunder was a standout player at High Point University (N.C.), where he led the Panthers in field goal percentage as a senior and was third on the team in rebounding and blocks. Sporting a 44-inch vertical leap – he could already dunk when he was in the sixth grade – the muscular Law finished his career second on High Point’s all-time rebounding list.

He became a larger figure on the Globetrotters’ radar when he competed in the 2013 college slam dunk championship by beating out 15 other athletes to become the annual Dark Horse Dunker. He was selected by the Globetrotters in their seventh annual player draft in June 2013, beginning his journey to becoming a Globetrotter.

Bria “Swish” Young

Harlem Globetrotters Basketball

Served as envoy

  • 2018  –  Belgium
  • 2018  –  Germany

Bria grew up in Philadelphia and was inspired by a local icon and former NBA star Allen Iverson. The former 76er had a tremendous influence on Bria’s playing style. “I’ve always wanted to have a crossover just like him,” she said.

However, it was Bria’s dad and uncle who first introduced her to the game of basketball. When she was a child she watched them compete in three-on-three street basketball tournaments around the city. Bria played her first game of organized basketball at the age of 7.

As a teenager, Bria suffered a knee injury which nearly threw her off her path of playing professionally one day. Bria attended Philadelphia University where she had a stellar four-year career. With the Rams she totaled 1,067 career points, was named the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) player of the year in 2016 as well as Defensive Player of the Year. She helped lead her team to a CACC championship her senior year and was named a DII WBCA All American.

At Philadelphia University, she earned a degree in psychology – an interest which stems from her passion for helping others. She is thrilled that she’ll be able to touch the lives of other people on an even grander scale via her basketball foundation as well as playing professional basketball around the world.

After graduation, Bria became the 14th female to play for the world famous Harlem Globetrotters. Bria is An Official USA Basketball Youth Development Licensed Coach. In 2018, Bria began an assistant coach for Saint Francis University’s women’s basketball team. She helped coach the team to a conference championship game appearance. In 2019, Bria became the head girls varsity basketball coach at New Foundations Charter School in her hometown of Philadelphia. She won her first championship as a head coach during her first year at NFCS.

It has always been a lifelong goal for Bria to give back to the community in which she grew up in. In July 2017 she started Bria Young Basketball Inc.

Anthony “Buckets” Blakes

Harlem Globetrotters Basketball

Served as envoy

  • 2017  –  Lithuania
  • 2017  –  Estonia

Buckets Blakes was born and raised in Phoenix and still lives in the Valley of the Sun, and his first exposure to basketball was watching the Phoenix Suns at the age of five. To make his own hoop, he would cut a hole in the top of his dad’s hat, flip it over and shoot a tennis ball through it.

Years of practice from that point forward made him one of the most accurate shooters around (hence the name “Buckets”). He can fill it up in many different ways, like when he broke the Guinness World Records® record for the most basketball underhanded half-court shots in one minute, dropping six– one more than the previous record. He actually made those six shots in just 46 seconds.

On World Trick Shot Day (Dec.6, 2016), Buckets nailed the highest shot ever recorded in North America. From the top of the Tower of the Americas in San Antonio, Buckets made a 583-foot basketball shot to a hoop located below.

His parents are his heroes, because they always involved Buckets and his nine siblings in positive things. He made them proud by earning his bachelor’s degree in psychology in January of 2012 by taking online courses. Despite the demands of entertaining people all over the world year-round, Buckets made the Dean’s List three times while completing his courses.

One of his favorite childhood basketball memories was when he finally stole the basketball from his older cousin, who taught him how to dribble. “He was one of the best basketball players in the state, and he would never just give me the ball; I had to try and steal it every time, ”explains Buckets.“ When I finally stole it from him, my confidence soared, and my fate in the game of basketball was sealed.”

Buckets was not only an outstanding basketball player growing up, but he also lettered in track and football in high school. As his basketball talents grew, his high school coach, Michael Ellsworth, showed him that hard work pays off, both on and off the court.

He took that work ethic to Arizona Western College, and then to the University of Wyoming, where he was team captain and MVP his junior and senior seasons, leading the team in rebounding, assists and steals as a junior. As a senior, Buckets was one of only two Mountain West Conference players to finish in the top 15 in scoring, rebounding and assists.

Buckets enjoys working with and mentoring kids, so here lies the opportunities he’s had to present the Globetrotters’ various community outreach programs all over the world as an Ambassador of Goodwill™. He sees himself running his own gym someday and helping kids build character and self-esteem through sports mentoring. He encourages youngsters to, “Be the best ‘you’ that you can be, because it’s very difficult to try and be someone else.”

Tamika Raymond

Basketball

Served as envoy

  • 2010  –  Malawi
  • 2011  –  Tanzania
  • 2012  –  China
  • 2013  –  Ukraine
  • 2013  –  Nigeria
  • 2014  –  Sri Lanka

Tamika Maria Raymond is an Assistant Coach for the women’s basketball team at the University of Kansas. Prior to serving in that role, Raymond played professional basketball in the WNBA for six seasons. During the 2002 WNBA Draft, the Minnesota Lynx selected Raymond with the sixth overall pick. She played her last season in the WNBA with the Connecticut Sun.

Prior to playing in the WNBA, Raymond attended the University of Connecticut, where she majored in interpersonal communications. She played for the school’s women’s basketball teams, which won Division I National Championship teams in 2000 and 2002. She completed her four-year collegiate career with averages of 10.6 points per game and 5.8 rebounds per game. She finished as UConn’s all-time leader in field goal percentage at 70.3 percent.

Raymond had a stellar high school basketball career in Dayton, OH. She was named the 1997 and 1998 Ohio Player of the Year and was selected to the 1997-98 Associated Press girls Division I All-Ohio high school basketball team. She was named “Ohio’s Miss Basketball” by the Associated Press.

Craig Esherick

Basketball

Served as envoy

  • 2019  –  Azerbaijan

Craig Esherick is an Associate Professor in the Sport Management program at George Mason University, where the 2020 Fall Semester will be his thirteenth year. He is the Associate Director of the Center for Sport Management, the Academic Program Coordinator for the Sport Management program and also the Internship Coordinator.

Professor Esherick was a scholarship basketball player at Georgetown University while earning an undergraduate finance degree from the business school.

He attended the Georgetown University Law Center and was a graduate assistant basketball coach for two of those years. After graduating from law school and passing the DC Bar Exam, Professor Esherick became a full-time assistant coach at Georgetown for the men’s basketball team. His tenure as an assistant lasted 17 and a half years and included a stint as the assistant basketball coach for the USA Olympic Team that won a bronze medal in the 1988 Seoul Olympics. He became the head basketball coach in 1999 at Georgetown University and held that position long enough to win 103 games. He worked briefly for AOL’s new online radio venture from 2004 until 2005, where he commented on-air about college basketball news and wrote articles for the AOL Sports website. Craig took a job with a startup television network in New York in May of 2005; that network, CSTV, has now become CBS College Sports. Esherick came to Mason from NYU, where he taught in their Graduate Sports Management program for two years.

Craig has written or edited several books, articles and book reviews on a variety of topics in the sports industry. These works can be found in the History of Sport Encyclopedia, Sports Management and Marketing Encyclopedia, Journal of Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics, History and Sport, Leadership in Sport, Cultures of Peace, The Journal of Sport for Development and the International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing. Esherick’s book titles include the third, fourth and fifth editions of Media Relations in Sport, Case Studies in Sport Diplomacy and Fundamentals of Sport Management.

Esherick has served on several Arlington and Fairfax County, Virginia boards and committees. He has worked with the US Department of State on many grants and sport diplomacy projects from 2009 to 2019. Craig provides expert commentary for news outlets, television and radio during college basketball season, primarily working for the Mid Atlantic Sports Network (MASN), Learfield and the Stadium/Sinclair network.

Chineze Nwagbo

Basketball

Served as envoy

  • 2019  –  Kosovo
  • 2019  –  Azerbaijan
  • 2019  –  Albania
  • 2019  –  Tanzania

Chineze Nwagbo started her basketball career at Duval Senior High School, in Lanham, Maryland where she is recognized as a 4 yr. varsity letter recipient, and two-time team captain. Her honors include2back-to-back State Championship Titles, All-American Honorable Mention, All-County First Team, All-Gazette, USA Today’s Most Improved and Most Important Player to Scout in Maryland, amongst a myriad of other accomplishments. She is a former Syracuse University student-athlete, who earned her Business of Science degree in Biology. Shortly after graduating from Syracuse, Chinny went on to play as a professional basketball player for 11 years all over the world. She has played in various countries such as Spain(for six years), Chile, Brazil, Poland(for 3 years), Portugal, Israel, where she afforded 4 MVP Titles, and also appeared in the World Championship Games in 2006, representing her parent’s native country Nigeria.Currently, Chinny has ventured to new horizons working for the NBA, in China, developing grassroots implementation of NBA based basketball curriculum in various areas of Jr. NBA programs, also for the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders developmental camps, and has been brought on to work for the Atlanta Hawks,NY Knicks, Washington Wizards, and the National Basketball Players Association.She has also participated as a lecturer, coach, and professor of the game for the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Sports Diplomacy program, which was designed in efforts to bring global communities together. She has also dedicated her time as a Motivational Speaker to various youth programs all over the world, and amazing non-profits geared toward providing resources for underprivileged inner-city student-athletes. In her spare time, she frequents New Channel 8’s Sports talk show as a guest sports analyst and hopes to play an instrumental role in the growth of the game, especially serving as a role model to young female athletes.

Rachael Flatt

Figure Skating

Served as envoy

  • 2014  –  Russia

Rachael Flatt is a former American competitive figure skater. Flatt began skating at 4 years old. Competing in ladies’ singles, Flatt won the US Novice national title at the age of 12 (2005). She is the 2008 World Junior champion, a winner of four silver medals on the Grand Prix series, and the 2010 U.S. National Champion. In the same year, she was nominated to represent the US at the 2010 Winter Olympics and placed 7th.

Flatt completed the first step in qualifying for nationals by winning the 2014 Central Pacific Regionals. She placed first in both the short and the long with an overall score of 139.48. This was her first step in attempting to make her second Olympic team. On January 12, 2014, she placed 18th at the U.S. Championships and announced her retirement from competitive skating.

Evan Lysacek

Figure Skating

Served as envoy

  • 2012  –  Sweden
  • 2012  –  Belarus
  • 2014  –  Russia
  • 2020  –  Japan
  • 2020  –  Malaysia
  • 2020  –  Singapore

Following his figure skating Gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, Lysacek was chosen as the 2010 United States Olympic Committee’s SportsMan of the Year, and the winner of the James E. Sullivan Award as the top U.S. amateur athlete of 2010. On January 22, 2016, he was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame. Evan Lysacek is the last American male figure skater to win an individual Olympic medal. He was a Sports Envoy in Belarus and Sweden in 2012 and Russia in 2014.

“With these adults, with young kids, with people who have nothing to do with skating whatsoever… our common language is sports and it transcends differences in language and differences in culture.” “I really feel like they absorbed the on-ice skills that I was trying to teach,” he said. “But also, I think they absorbed the message from what we were talking about a little bit and how that can help them if they continue skating, whatever skating will mean in their life, but it will also help them in everything that they do.”