Shelby McEwen’s Story Headed into the Paris Olympics in High Jump Doesn’t Have to be a Missed Opportunity

Standouts and Breakouts from June: Part 2


Shelby’s Story is Sports Gold

Shelby McEwen has been a staple in High Jump. He hasn’t been as high profile as Juvaughn Harrison, who was a surprising fourth place finish, but anyone watching the sport over the last 6 years has been excited to see Shelby in an event.

A little backstory, I used to run a basketball website. During that time, I covered Northwest Mississippi Community College. I would make the drive to Senatobia, Mississippi, record the games and create highlights helping the JUCO ballers get seen by 4-year colleges and universities. The program has always been a standout, but yesterday I found out a bit of info I didn’t realize about McEwen. Shelby used to hoop for the Rangers.

On the international scene Mutaz Barshim and Gianmarco Tamberi are the front runners with Juvaughn Harrison having won the Diamond League as the lead American in high jump. Shelby has always been right there, but it’s the way he got there which is the stuff of legend.

While competing at Northwest Mississippi in basketball he went to track and field events and participated unattached. I run the high jump events at local events, and I can tell you firsthand how difficult it is to find and participate in track and field events without a team. To do so as a JUCO basketball player while maintaining the grades to eventually land in the SEC at Alabama, where he added NCAA championships…

As a former head coach in high school hoops and a current certified track and field coach, being able to tell the story of Shelby McEwen to athletes during training sessions and events will now become a part of my lexicon.

One of my favorite rap songs is by Don Trip. The title is “Ignorance is Bliss”. In DT’s lyrics he’s discussing the hardships of hustling while dealing with family and friends. He talks about how ungrateful people can be when they live through your success. I was ignorant of Shelby’s story. A lot of hoopers in high school are ignorant about Shelby’s story. Ignorance is not bliss, it’s an uninformed state which leaves a ton of potential athletes hopeless when the basketball dream ends. Nike and Jordan Brand missed when they signed Erik Kynard. The brand has Shelby. This should not be a missed opportunity.

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