Christian named inaugural head coach of NBA G-League team in Washington D.C.
As a New Kent High School athlete in the mid-2000s, Jarell Christian took pride in being persistent whether it was diving on the floor for a loose basketball or making that last lean at the finish line to win a race. The former Trojan has transformed that persistence into a historical first for the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) G-League.
Christian is the first head coach of the Capital City Go-Go based out of Washington D.C. The expansion team will begin play this upcoming season and is the minor league affiliate of the Washington Wizards.
The New Kent native spent the last four years as an assistant coach of the Oklahoma City Blue, the developmental team of the Oklahoma City Thunder. During his time with the Blue, he received an opportunity to serve as the interim head coach for half of the season. That position sparked additional motivation for Christian.
“It was my first taste of being a head coach and I got aspirations to continue to be one,” said Christian during an Aug. 1 interview. “When the opportunity presented to become the head coach of the Capital City Go-Go presented itself, a number of coaches reached out on my behalf.
“Once they posted the job, I was all over it,” he continued. “It has been a big deal for me to get back to the east coast and this job is as close as you can get to Richmond, New Kent, and Charles City so I can be closer to my family and friends.”
Christian said that his tough-minded nature as a player and being persistent helped him get to the point he has a coach. He echoed that he experienced a lot of tough times in athletics before having his breakthrough.
“Going to Norfolk State University and not playing for a full-year only motivated me to still find a way,” Christian said, speaking of his one year at the institution before transferring to Emory and Henry to continue his collegiate basketball career. “I got the opportunity to play there and do what I love.
“A lot of people don’t know that getting into coaching was very difficult for me,” he continued. “I couldn’t find a job, so I took one as a full-time volunteer coach at Tusculum.”
Christian stuck to his methodology, working up the ranks as an assistant college coach before making his way to Oklahoma City. And after being named the head coach of the new Washington Wizards’ affiliate, the New Kent native wanted to send a strong message to his hometown community as well as to his family in neighboring Charles City.
“I prayed for this situation and everything happened for a reason,” said Christian. “In life, everybody has trials, tribulations, and hurdles to overcome.
“Everybody has gotten into that situation at one point or another,” he continued as he began to conclude his interview. “You have to have a persistent attitude, strong faith, and a good foundation whether it’s friends, family, or the community. I’m a living testament of that.”