WJTV News Channel 12 - "Coach" Lumumba Remembered

"Coach" Lumumba Remembered

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Mayor Lumumba was a man known to wear many hats.

We're told he had a passion for basketball, having been a player in high school and in college.

"He was still to this day trying to help me. Still trying to be in my life. He was still there, you know? So it just really hurts." says Malcoln Kirkland, a former player and mentee of Lumumba's

Kirkland says he was a part of coach Lumumba's Jackson Panthers basketball team.

He says he graduated high school, played college balL, obtained a bachelor's degree, and went on to play professional basketball.all because of coach Lumumba's positive influence.

"He was just so nice, regardless of what the situation was. Chokwe would always find some brightness in it." Kirkland tells us

Lemond Roy joined forces with Lumumba in 2003..

Together, they were able to capture multiple state championships and a national basketball championship.

"I can remember that day like it was yesterday. How excited he was, how excited I was, and how excited we were for our kids to be able to say 'we're national champions.' So, that was a great moment." says Roy

Lumumba's impact reached far beyond the magnolia state.

Ronnie Brewer, who is now an NBA player, played on the Panthers' 2002 team.

He says, Lumumba welcomed him with open arms.

"He made it seem like basketball wasn't important. That, relationships you have between coaches, players, and players families. We were all family." says Brewer

All these men say, Lumumba, the coach left a long lasting impact.

"I look at him as a father figure to me. He's my mentor. I'll never forget the things we shared together." says Roy

"I'm going to miss him, man. He was a great man."adds Kirkland

Roy tells us the Jackson Panthers had a high school graduation rate of 95 percent with 97 percent of those players attending college on a division one scholarship.

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