SOMERVILLE, NJ – Three cousins - all business entrepreneurs who grew up in “The ‘Ville,” will return to the borough’s Middle School Wednesday night to play in a charity basketball game, have some fun and raise money for a good cause.
Doors open at 5:30 p.m.; tip-off is at 6 p.m. Admission is $2, with all proceeds donated to the American Heart Association. The Middle School is at 51 W. Cliff St.
The cousins’ names are all familiar, having made their marks at a younger age.
Mason Robinson, 27, is a graduate of Somerville High School who earned All-State honors as a track star before moving on to Rutgers University where he played football, moving on to the NFL where he played with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He’s also the new track coach at his high school alma mater.
Arthur Morrison, also 27, was a student at the Middle School, but attended Bridgewater-Raritan High School, where he was a standout basketball player on teams that won three straight county championships. A 6’7” swingman, his athletic career continued at Caldwell College, where he averaged double digits each season before graduating and signing a contract to play professional basketball in Portugal, where he averaged 16.4 points a game in 2013.
Marques Jackson, 24, is an actor and comic and produces a trademark web TV series, “Just Another Day.” He’s extended the trademark into a line of clothing, hats, shorts, sweats and other apparel. He’s off to Los Angeles in April for a few weeks to work on a feature film, with a TV appearance in the not-so-distant future.
“This is something we’ve wanted to do for a few years now,” Robinson said. "We’ve sat down and talked about it, and when the school principal (Georgette Boulegeris) came to us and gave us this opportunity, we were ready to step into it.”
It’s the fourth year the school has held an event to raise money for the AHA, but this is the first year the cousins have been involved.
“What we wanted to do was to put together an event that will have entire community involved, so we reached out to our friends, the police department, fire department, teachers, the mayor and local businesses,” Robinson said.
“We came up with this idea a long time ago,” Jackson explained, following racially-charged shooting incidents and police arrests in Ferguson, Mo. and in Baltimore.
“Last year, when everything was going on, people protesting, rioting, football players taking knees during the National Anthem – instead of reacting to something, we wanted to be proactive, show people how great Somerville is, to be proud you’re from Somerville.
“We don’t really have those issues,” he continued. “Everybody is accepted in Somerville. We wanted to lead by example, for other communities in the county and the rest of the state; we want to eventually grow this to help other communities as well.”
Morrison added “We want the kids to be proud they’re from here, to understand we produce people in Somerville that go on to do great things; they don’t have to look any further than themselves for greatness. They can achieve greatness as long as they put effort behind it.”
The cousins and their friends will be on one team squaring up against the Somerville High School basketball team.
“Hey, we’re not going in there to lose,” Morrison said. “We also want people to come out, have fun, relax, laugh, have the kids come out on the court, run around with us during warm-ups, and have the special needs kids hanging out on the bench with us.”
Robinson is a professional athletics trainer, and works with teams and individuals in several sports, soccer, football, softball and others, helping young athletes earn scholarships to college. He also markets a line of sportswear on his website.
Morrison formed a non-profit corporation, Above Maximum Sports Training that has a variety of specialties – after school basketball programs in 5 NJ school districts; helping AAU teams, running clinics and fundraisers to acquire athletic equipment, and donating clothing and sports gear to countries overseas. He also markets team and company apparel.
“We do a lot of things similar to Mason,” Morrison said. “We’re probably each other’s biggest support system.”
The cousins can each be contacted through their websites:
Jackson - lesstalkingmoreaction.com
Morrison - abovemaxsports.org
Robinson – shocktheworldpro.com