LUBBOCK, Texas – On Thursday night, Jaime Martinez made his basketball coaching debut at O.L. Slaton Middle School’s 7th-grade home opener against Frenship Middle School. 

“Growing up, I always loved sports,” Martinez said. “I love the discipline of it, and especially as you get older, that’s when you really understand that these things that we did really benefit us in the future as men and women, so I wanted to be a part of that and be able to teach those lessons.”

Martinez was a lineman coach this past football season for the Knights. While coaching football, he noticed a good number of his athletes were wearing cleats that were worn out. 

Because of that, he decided to make a change for his new basketball team. He said that although most of his players bring a pair of basketball shoes with them, he realizes some may not be able to afford them.

“I wanted to get these kids some shoes that they’ll be able to hold on to,” Martinez said. “They’re theirs from now on. They don’t have to check those in at the end of the season.” 

Martinez wants his players to have the same gear and shoes as the players from other schools in town. He believes that’ll help his guys be confident in themselves on the court.

“If you look good, you’re going to feel good, and you’re going to play good,” Martinez said. “I’ve told them, you can come out here and play the game of your life in some old shoes you found in your closet, but when you put on some nice shoes, and you’re ready to go, the confidence just builds.”

He needed help, so he took to Facebook to ask the community for new or gently used basketball shoe donations.

“I just figured, hey, I’m gonna reach out to a few friends,” Martinez said. “They may have older kids, maybe they’ve got gently used shoes. “All of a sudden, I started getting messages saying, ‘Hey, I would love to buy a pair of shoes for one of your athletes.’”

Martinez said he’s very appreciative of the community’s support so far.

“I want those kids to have that confidence,” Martinez said. “I want them to feel like they belong on this floor, and they can compete with anybody.”

Martinez said he’s already received 15 pairs of basketball shoes that some players were rocking during Thursday’s season opener. There are still many students in need out there.
If you would like to donate a new or gently used pair of basketball shoes, reach out to Coach Jaime Martinez by email, jmar4423@gmail.com.