Tributes Flow for Brooklyn Community Builder Greg Jackson
Greg “Jocko” Jackson, who was a member of the 1973 NAIA Championship-winning Guilford men’s basketball team, died May 1 of an apparent heart attack. The long-time manager of the Brownsville Recreation Center in Brooklyn was 60.
The New York Times published an article about Jackson on May 2 in which the New York City parks commissioner said, “We’ve lost a major leader. He made the center neutral territory, a place of peacefulness and calm in a community where, well, there can be violence. He saw to it that the violence never came in the doors.”
The New York Knicks paid tribute to Jackson during halftime of their May 6 NBA playoff game against the Miami Heat at Madison Square Garden.
Jackson spent his early years in New York’s troubled Brownsville neighborhood, before coming to North Carolina to live with relatives and attend high school. At Guilford, he played alongside future NBA stars M.L. Carr and World B. Free.
After a brief NBA career, he returned to his old Brooklyn neighborhood, where he became known as the unofficial mayor of Brownsville for his unflagging work on behalf of the community, particularly young people.