KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL)- In our new digital series ‘High School Standouts,’ Digital Sports Reporter Michael Epps features local athletes with incredible talent, hoping to take that talent to the next level.
These are athletes that stand out both on and off the field.
This week’s High School Standout is Jabrea Johnson, a senior girls basketball player at Dobyns-Bennett High School.
What’s in a last name?
“Great athletes, you say that name and you think great athletes that have come through Kingsport,” Dobyns-Bennett girls basketball head coach Bill Francis said.
When it comes to Foreman, it means a loving family, and it means sports. Lots of it.
“They just compete, man, they’re great competitors, they have great respect for the game, they love the game of basketball, the game of football, all sports,” Francis said.
Tony and Tonya Foreman’s first son, Malik, played football and basketball at Dobyns-Bennett, then played at the University of Tennessee.
Next in line, Makale, a 1,000-point scorer for D-B, who currently plays for the Stony Brook basketball team.
“It’s been so good watching Makale, he’s been playing so good right now, he’s shooting the ball and that’s really just the result of all the hard work he’s put in the gym,” mother Tonya Foreman said.
We’re not done. Brother #3: Marae Foreman, another 1,000-point scorer who led the Indians to the district crown as a senior last year.
“Two of the three are 1,000 point scorers and who knows maybe Malik could have if he had played all four years,” Francis said.
And that’s the end of all the Foreman brothers, but not the end of Foreman athletes.
“Oh yeah, she’s got the genes, I say all the time she’s got the genes you can’t deny that,” Francis said.
You see, we haven’t even started talking about their sister.
“Every now and then, I’ll show up at a ballgame and people will look at me and say ‘you still have one playing?’ And I say ‘yeah my baby girl is playing, Jabrea,’ and they’re like ‘I did not know that was your daughter,’ and I’m like ‘yep that’s my girl that’s the baby girl,'” Tonya Foreman said.
Yep, that’s Tony and Tonya’s baby girl.
“Every once in a while, the girls will come home and say someone told them I didn’t know you were Malik or Marae or Makale’s brother and they’re like yeah so I think it’s made them popular sometimes with people,” Tonya Foreman said.
Jabrea, and her older sister, Janiya, were both adopted by the Foreman family when Jabrea was just two years old. That’s why their last names aren’t Foreman, but Johnson.
“They are family, they are related, both girls Jabrea and Janiya and they have a great relationship with their mother,” Tonya Foreman said.
Tonya and Jabrea’s birth mother are first cousins, making it a seamless transition for the families.
“My family really trusted them and they my family wanted girls, Tonya Foreman had three boys and really wanted girls so they took that opportunity to get us,” Jabrea Johnson said.
“I remember asking Jabrea ‘do you know why you’re here with Daddy Tony and Momma Tonya and she looked up at me and she said ‘because you wanted a girl’ and I said ‘that’s exactly right’ because we wanted the girl after having 3 boys we got the 2 girls,” Tonya Foreman said.
So what’s in a last name? How about a family of pure athletes to take over Kingsport for years.
“Thinking about how many basketball games I’ve been to with four kids playing and one dancing, so I stopped counting when I got to about 2,400,” Tonya Foreman said.
“Theyre just a tight knit family, a great family, a sports family, and that’s what they live they live for sports and Jabrea really had no choice,” Francis said laughingly.
She just knew after watching all three of her older brothers grow up playing sports, she had to do the same.
“They love to play fight, they do and I guess that kinda taught me to be tougher and the other boys would always challenge me to play 1-on-1 and get me tougher,” Jabrea Johnson said.
“I always wanted to dress her up real pretty with dresses and hair bows and she would always sit there like with a frown on her face and I’m like if you’re gonna look like that I’m gonna take the dress off she was more comfortable in tennis shoes and shorts so shes always loved to play with the guys,” Tonya Foreman said.
Johnson has grown to be the leading scorer on the Lady Indians team, and it still only a junior.
“Last year was my first year varsity that kinda prepared me for this year,” Jabrea Johnson said.
So what’s in a last name? In this case, two different names and one family tradition.
“That just inspires me so much, just to see that hard work and that’s what I tell kids, we’re not special there’s no magic in the Foreman name, it’s really just a lot of hard work, yeah, that’s it,” Tonya Foreman said.
Follow this series throughout the year as WJHL’s Michael Epps finds the High School Standout every week on WJHL.com.