Everyone knows Jada Walker the basketball player. She’s one of the highest-rated point guards in the Class of 2021, she was vital to New Hope Academy’s triumph at the 2019 GEICO Nationals, and she has countless major college vying for her affection.
But do you know Jada Walker the artist?
“I like art,” she explained. “I’ve always been a big person on drawing. My art teachers have helped me evolve in it and do different things, like paint or pastel, a whole bunch of different stuff.”
Unsurprisingly, a lot of her time is dedicated to hoops. Her father, Jon Walker, is an assistant at New Hope, and he drives the two of them multiple hours from where they live in Richmond, Virginia, to Landover Hills, Maryland, for school and basketball, as covered in our previous article about Jada. It’s a testament to the level of commitment, time and otherwise, the Walker family has on basketball.
Even for someone who loves the sport like Jada, it can be a lot. When she needs a reprieve, art is there is for her.
“It’s calming,” Jada said. “It helps me just clear my head to find something I want to draw.”
That’s how she has always been, Jon said, even when she was a little girl. Even at basketball games, Jada has been known to doodle.
“She’ll be at a game, and you’ll think she’s watching the game, and she’s drawing caricatures of the team and what’s going on,” he said. “She’s always had that visualization, and it’s been an outlet for her. She’ll get away from us and go up in her room, she has her sketch pad, and she goes through it, sketching out things she’s seen or she likes.”
It’s something her parents stay away from. They sit back and let Jada do her thing, relishing the final products and supporting their daughter’s non-basketball interest.
“It’s something she wants to do outside of basketball,” Jon explained. “She’s always in art class, she’s always in art competitions, so it’s part of her that she really enjoys. It’s her own outlet, we don’t mess with it. We just enjoy the work that she does.”
The Walkers have several of Jada’s pieces hanging up around their house, with a handful of it centered within her mother’s office. Some are of people, which Jada said is one of her favorite things to draw. Why? Because it’s so difficult.
“One of the hardest things for me to draw is people, but I like to draw them, and most of the things I see in my every day life,” she said. “If I’m in a car sometimes, I’ll bring my notebook or something to draw something, or when I get home and I don’t have anything to do, I’ll get my notebook and start drawing.”
As for what role art will play in her life moving forward remains to be seen. But her options are open, and her parents will support her in whatever she chooses.
“What she does with it, I told her, ‘You’ll figure that out once you get to college, and you’ll kind of see and feel what you want to do with it,’” Jon said. “It could continue to be an outlet.”