Representing Watts

Not only is JuJu Watkins restoring glory back to USC Women's Basketball, she is also proudly representing Watts where she grew up and where her family has deep roots.

2 minute read

February 26, 2024, 8:00 AM PST

By Clement Lau

Watts Towers, Los Angeles.

Timothy / Adobe Stock

For anyone following college basketball this year, JuJu Watkins should be a household name. For those who do not know, Watkins is a star on the University of Southern California (USC) women's basketball team who has been one of the best players in the country and has been leading the team to many wins on the court. On the surface, this article by Emma Baccellieri of Sports Illustrated may seem like just another sports story about an outstanding athlete. However, a more careful reading reveals the following key references that should be of interest to planners:

  • JuJu Watkins grew up in Watts and proudly represents the South Los Angeles neighborhood and the city of Los Angeles. With all her talents, Watkins could have gone to any college she wanted, but decided to stay close to home in part to restore the legacy of USC's women's basketball program which was once a powerhouse.    
  • Her late great-grandfather Ted Watkins founded the Watts Labor Community Action Committee (WLCAC) after the 1965 Watts Riots. Through the WLCAC, Watkins initiated various programs to alleviate poverty in Watts and generally improving the quality of life for community members. During his lifetime, Watkins contributed to the establishment of a financial institution and construction of a hospital in Watts, as well as the development of housing for low-income residents and youth programs. WLCAC continues to be active to this day, offering a wide range of services and programs, including ones that focus on employment training, family wellness, seniors, youth, children, and those experiencing poverty. 
  • JuJu Watkins grew up playing basketball at Ted Watkins Memorial Park which is named after her great-grandfather. Located in the heart of South Los Angeles, this 28-acre facility is home to the Promenade of Prominence Walk of Fame which celebrates the accomplishments of community leaders. Activities such as baseball, flag football, basketball and soccer are offered by the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) at this park. The park also features a swimming pool, skate park, walking path, fitness zones with outdoor exercise equipment, and a farmer’s market.

The article shares that Ted Watkin's motto was “Don’t move. Improve.” By choosing to play college basketball close to home and performing at such a high level, JuJu Watkins is certainly living by this motto and bringing pride to Watts and the city of Los Angeles.    

Friday, February 23, 2024 in Sports Illustrated

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