Portola HS basketball player who was target of racial slurs during game gifted $20,000 for college

"I couldn't allow that to be Makai's last basketball experience," said the Orange County businessman who offered his support.
LAGUNA HILLS, Calif. (KABC) -- The Portola High School basketball player who was the target of racial slurs during a game received a big surprise from an Orange County businessman who felt he needed to step in and make a change.

During a match-up against Laguna Hills High earlier this month, a Laguna Hills student who was in the stands began taunting Makai Brown.

The student was heard in game footage shouting, "Who let him out of his cage? He's a monkey!" and "Where is his slave owner? Chain him up! Who let him off the chains?" as the teen was shooting free throws.

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Saddleback Valley Unified School District officials say "inappropriate and inflammatory racist comments" were made by a Laguna Hills High School student.

JJ Jones, a businessman and mentor in Orange County, heard of the incident and immediately offered his support.

"I couldn't allow that to be Makai's last basketball experience so I called in my super friends to change the narrative," he said.

Jones awarded the teen a $20,000 scholarship toward his academic career, an opportunity to work as an intern with a sports agent along with one-on-one basketball training. The surprise was captured on video and shared on Instagram.

In a statement released shortly after the incident occurred, Saddleback Valley Unified School District Superintendent Crystal Turner described the taunts as "inappropriate and inflammatory racist comments."

"The language and connotations expressed by the words used do not represent the culture, attitudes, or feelings of the students and staff of LHHS, nor those of Saddleback Valley Unified School District," Turner said.

READ ALSO | Portola High principal condemns racist taunts hurled at basketballer during Laguna Hills game

In a statement, state Sen. Dave Min of Irvine said: "This incident was by no means unique. Whether it's racist comments at Board of Supervisor meetings or Nazi banners hung from our highway overpasses or a Ku Klux Klan rally, hate is on the rise, and it's unfortunately unfolding in schools across Orange County."

The district said the Laguna Hills student who made the remarks was identified, counseled and disciplined.

Irvine Mayor Farrah Khan said in a statement: "This is not a one-time incident -- I have received numerous complaints from families and Irvine coaches about Saddleback sports' culture.

"I am asking SVUSD to conduct an investigation into the coach and other staff regarding their involvement in incidents like this and bring forward appropriate actions taken," Khan said.

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