Giving back: City natives come home, bring sports stars

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 1, 2009

Two Vicksburg High School graduates are in town this weekend, hoping to make a positive impact on the city in which they grew up.

If you go

The NBA Red Carpet Celebrity Party will be at 9 tonight at the Vicksburg Convention Center. NBA celebrities Josh Powell and Dwight Howard and other pro basketball players will attend. Entertainment will be by Tony! Toni! Toné!, a 1980s-’90s R&B group. Admission is $25, and proceeds will benefit youth scholarships. For information, call 601-630-2929.

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Greeted by old friends and young campers looking to strengthen their basketball skills, Jamie Knox and Karen Strothers-Clark arrived in the River City earlier this week, bringing a concept, a crew of promoters and an NBA champion and other basketball stars.

“It’s always great to come back,” said Knox, who graduated from VHS in 1988 and now lives in Raleigh, N.C. “It was a great place to grow up, and I’ve got very fond memories of Vicksburg.”

Strothers-Clark, a 1990 VHS grad said, “We enjoy the people, and we get a chance to be with our families.”

The road to Vicksburg started eight months ago when the pair, who live on separate coasts, began brainstorming about how to give back to a community they say gave them so much.

They merged resources and came up with the Josh Powell Championship Weekend.

The weekend, which kicked off Thursday, has featured a three-day basketball camp for ages 6-17 led by Powell, who plays for the Los Angeles Lakers, and Dwight Howard, who plays for the Orlando Magic; and a celebrity dominoes tournament at The Ware House on Washington Street. It will wrap up tonight with an NBA Red Carpet Celebrity Party at the Vicksburg Convention Center.

“It was both of our goals to do something like this, and it’s just formulated through the years,” said Knox, who owns Strategic Sports Management and is Powell’s manager. He is the son of Vicksburg educators Peggy Knox and George Knox.

“With the Lakers winning the 2009 championship and Josh being there, this couldn’t have been a better time,” Knox said.

“He was always involved in sports,” said his mother. “We always supported him in what he wanted to do. I always told him to get out there and try — if it’s really and truly what he wanted to do.”

Strothers-Clark lives in San Francisco and owns KSTRUT Public Relations and Marketing, which represents Powell.

Her mother, Carolyn Strothers, said, “She was always active, always wanted to be in the know, always doing and always going. I never had to remind her to do anything. She was always responsible.”

Strothers-Clark said, “When I was in high school, I knew I wanted to venture outside of Mississippi and see what else was out there — and I got the chance to. This type of career I’m doing is out of a fluke, and it’s something I love. I look to do this for a long time.”

In addition to being a publicist, she doubles as a full-time assistant vice-president of Union Bank.

Her father is Percy Strothers, a retired U.S. Postal Service worker.


Contact Manivanh Chanprasith at