York University recognizes Jones brothers

By RON FANFAIR

Rarely do brothers Paul and Mark Jones get together even though they have broadcast a significant number of National Basketball Association (NBA) games in the past 14 years.

Big brother Paul, the Toronto Raptors first radio analyst in 1995, and Mark who worked with The Sports Network (TSN) before becoming a sportscaster for ESPN and ABC in 1990, have covered the same game on just three occasions.

Last Thursday would have been one of the very few times that they would have been together in the same city and they had planned to have a nice and quiet dinner and catch up on old times. Mark covered the Dallas Mavericks-New Orleans contest the night before while Paul was scheduled to fly in to New Orleans with the Raptors the next day.

That meeting did not take place as Paul postponed his trip to “The Big Easy” by 24 hours to receive the York University Bryden alumni award which was presented to the brothers.

Paul graduated with honours with a Bachelor of Education degree in 1980 while Mark graduated with an economics degree four years later.

The Jones brothers, who also played basketball at York University, were presented with the “Redefine the Possible” award for demonstrating leadership and success that embodies the university’s motto, “Redefine the Possible”.

“York has certainly played a major role in shaping our lives,” said Paul who was inducted into the university’s Sports Hall of Fame last May. “We were ripe to be molded when we came here and being around people at the university, the coaching staff and teammates helped enhance that process and reinforce character qualities our parents instilled in us such as working hard, acquiring a good education and community involvement.”

The brothers’ parents – Nigerian-born Hugh who migrated to Jamaica at age 10 and Jamaican-born Marjorie along with Paul’s wife and three children and Bob Bain, who has been the basketball coach at York University for the past 35 years – attended the event.

“Paul really improved over the course of the years he was at York to the point where he was the Most Valuable Player on our OUAA (Ontario Universities Athletic Association) championship side,” said Bain. “On that team, we had several All-Canadians, but Paul distinguished himself immensely on the court.

“Mark came with a lot of bravado. He was always up front, very open and he was somebody you knew that somehow, somewhere, like a cat, he had nine lives and he was going to be a success.

Bryden awards selection committee member Tim Rider said the Jones brothers were two very different people.

“I think Paul was very much the voice of a team of superstars while Mark was unabashedly a social leader, the social convener and a different type of voice,” said Rider, who was a teammate of the brothers.

Mark, who celebrates his 48th birthday next Monday (November 16), primarily covers college football and NBA basketball for ESPN and ABC. Prior to joining ESPN and ABC Sports, Mark worked at TSN from 1986-1990 where he was the sports desk anchor and host of the Toronto Blue Jays Magazine show.

Paul, on the other hand, represented Canada twice at international tournaments and was an assistant coach for three years at the University of Western Ontario where he acquired a Masters in Sports Psychology. He spent 22 years with the Toronto District School Board, becoming a principal before taking a two-year leave of absence in 2004 and finally resigning three years ago to become the play-by-play voice of the Toronto Raptors on the Fan 590 radio broadcasts.

Prior to joining the Fan, he worked as an editorial and production assistant with TSN’s news and programming departments where he eventually became associate producer of the network’s Blue Jays show.

In 1992, Paul served as associate producer for CTV’s national basketball broadcasts from the Barcelona Olympics and he anchored the radio broadcasts for the University of Toronto men and women basketball teams for four years up until 1993. He also teamed up with Toronto Raptors first radio play-by play voice, Mike Inglis – he’s now in the same role with the Miami Heat – to broadcast the World Basketball Championships in Toronto in 1994.

Paul currently co-hosts the post-game call-in show for home games and the Hoop show and Raptors NBA TV’s “Double Dribble” with game broadcast partner Eric Smith, writes a weekly column for the Sportsnet website and is a guest columnist for Raptors.com.

He has covered every Raptors game live or in studio except the February 21, 2003 home game against the Phoenix Suns, when his wife gave birth to their last child.

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