Jordyn Adams could have shared his kindness anywhere in the country.
Growing up, he lived in Mississippi and South Carolina and spent his first year as a professional baseball player in Arizona and Utah. Adams, who was a two-sport star at Green Hope High School in Cary, was the 17th pick of the Los Angeles Angels in the 2018 MLB Draft and could have easily done this in the city he hopes to make his permanent home sooner or later.
But last week in a boxing gym in the back of the Haven House Services in Raleigh, there was Adams, standing in the ring, addressing dozens of kids, ranging from preteens to his own age of 19, before donating gear to members of 2nd Round Boxing.
Adams partnered with Adidas to make the donations, which included gray workout shirts with black Adidas shorts to the 2nd Round Boxing participants at the Haven House, which provides community-based services to to at-risk youth and their families.
As soon as he was drafted Adams knew he wanted to find a way to give back to the youth of Wake County. With his busy off season regimen, Adams could have easily had Adidas pack the gear in boxes and send it to the downtown Raleigh facility. But it meant more to Adams to be there in person so he could talk with the participants.
“It was very important because I could have chose any other place across the country that I could have done and that’s what we would have been doing, just sending it,” Adams said. “That was the main reason we chose this place because that was a big factor, me actually being there and interacting with the kids and stuff.”
Adams spent his senior season at Green Hope, where he caught 54 passes for 1, 060 yards and 16 touchdown and was an outstanding outfielder for the baseball team. During his playing days, Adams would help teammates in any way he could. Once he got a bigger platform he quickly found a way to keep helping.
Once Adams decided last spring to focus on baseball (he had at first committed to UNC to play football and baseball), he signed with the Angels for $3.7 million. Like any 19 year-old, he wants things for himself, his dad Deke Adams said, but making sure he found a way to help out others was high on his priority list, too.
“That’s the thing that we taught him at a young age, when you have the opportunity to be blessed and you can help others, then help others,” Deke Adams said. “You never know if you’re one whatever away from being in the same situation. This is big for us, big as a family for us. This is his first opportunity and like I said we look forward to many more.”
The 2nd Round Boxing program has 42 kids on the active roster. According to program supervisor Brandon Mantei, when the fiscal year starts, 2nd Round Boxing is “about 50 percent funded.” The rest of the year the staff works to raise funds by doing fundraisers and getting donations. The Haven House also started an advisory committee to help find money that goes towards the gym and participants.
To have Adams donate gear is one less thing that has to come out of an already tight budget.
“It does (help a lot),” Mantei said. “I only get so much money at the end of the year to spend on equipment.”
Adams stood in the ring and spoke for about 10 minutes before the gear was presented. When he was done talking he took questions before coming down on the floor and mingling with the group.Adams then made his way out back to a truck outside and played video games with the kids, making sure he took the time to talk and answer more questions.
“It’s very important because I had questions as a kid that I would ask players and they wouldn’t give an honest answer or they wouldn’t answer at all,” Adams said. “Anytime I could be that role model, that player that kids look up to and interact with them, I try to.”
Adams’ dad watched from the back of the gym. Deke Adams, who spent last season as the defensive line coach at UNC, said the moment made him think of when Jordyn was younger, playing sports with older kids, and how he got to where he is today.
“All of those things just flashed in front of me,” Deke said. “I’m a proud father right now. He’s doing a good job and hopefully he keeps his head on straight and does everything the right way and continues to do this his whole career.”