ST. PETERSBURG – The legacy and stories of Jimmy Baxter date back to his days growing up in St. Petersburg as a highflying jumper and basketball phenom. Something extraordinary would always happen when Baxter is involved.
In the early 2000s, Baxter starred at Boca Ciega High School along with Sharrod McCree, David Pierce, Colby Masterson and Jason Bryant to name a few. It was show time at its best. Fans would come out in droves to see Baxter fly high with a thunderous dunk. If not in the gym with basketball, he was on the track setting high jump records.
Later, Baxter would go to the University of South Florida (USF) for fans to see the next show time move that “Prime,” a name bestowed on him at USF, would perform.
Baxter’s next high move took him internationally to Euroleague Basketball, which develops and organizes elite competitions, sporting events, corporate social responsibility programs and educational initiatives. Founded in 2000 under a breakthrough private organizational model for European professional team sports, Euroleague Basketball manages the continent’s two premier men’s basketball competitions, the Turkish Airlines Euroleague and the Euro cup.
Over the next nine years, Baxter would play professionally in 14 countries: Portugal, France, Italy, Latvia, Belgium, Turkey, Israel, Greece, Iran, Slovenia, Germany, Argentina, Venezuela and now Brazil.
“I’m grateful for the many people in St. Petersburg who gave so much to me,” said Baxter. “My mom has always told me to work hard to earn my way, but remember the people along the way. God has shown much favor to me and my family. I’m living a dream, earning a living to do one of things that I love doing. I’ve been afforded the opportunity to play in 14 different countries and I just want to help my home town people to have hope about life.”
Although, currently playing professional basketball in Brazil, Jimmy “Prime” Baxter is dazzling St. Petersburg yet again. Baxter has teamed up with a high school running buddy, Jason Bryant, to continue making a mark on the St. Petersburg community with the first “Bryant/ Baxter 3-on-3 Holiday Tournament” in December with the event proceeds benefitting foster families in the south St. Petersburg community. Together they are “JBx2” and they have teamed up to create a great event and give back to the communities they grew up in.
In Fulton County, Atlanta, Baxter is the founder of the “All Heart TC” Track and Field Club. The club is a family oriented team designed to introduce young runners to the basics of track and field training, specifically the running and jumping events. All Heart builds high character, influences higher learning and develops great scholar/athletes.
“We stress the importance of academics,” said Baxter. “We encourage a lifetime of habits that include a healthy lifestyle, as well as influence the love of the sport.”
The Baxter legacy and stories date back to his days growing up in St. Petersburg and they continue around the world today. Whether he is sponsoring a track club, playing basketball around the globe, hosting a 3-on-3 charity basketball tournament or giving back to foster care families, one thing is for certain, something extraordinary will always happen when he is involved.
The charity tournament weekend takes place Dec. 26 from 10-1 p.m. with raffles, giveaways and half-court shots. On Dec. 27 from 9-12 p.m. the playoffs and finals will take place. All this fun is happening at the newly named Thomas “Jet” Jackson Recreation Center, located at 1000 28th St. S., St. Petersburg. For more information, please call 813-314-4848.