SOUNDVIEW, the Bronx (PIX11) — When most people think of the Bronx, skateboarding isn’t the first thing that comes to mind, but Adidas Skateboarding Pro Rider Tyshawn Jones, 24, is breaking those barriers and being recognized for it.
“It makes me feel good,” Jones said. “I mean, it’s obviously surprising because when you’re doing these things, you don’t do it for the press or awards and stuff, so I just was being me and doing what I love.”
One of the top skateboarders in the world, the Soundview native earned the title of Skater of the Year by Thrasher magazine. It’s one of the most respected awards in the sport and he earned it not just once, but twice, making him the first Black skateboarder to do so.
On Monday, in the neighborhood he grew up in, he received a New York City Council proclamation from Councilmember Amanda Farias for the achievement and his impact on the community. Jones has made several donations to his former Bronx schools.
Farias says when children look at Jones, chasing dreams that fall outside of traditional careers like becoming a doctor or lawyer, may feel more attainable.
“To see people that look like you, that speak your language, that went to your local bodega, to be able to kind of see beyond what either people are telling you around you [what] you can actually do or what you can see for yourself,” Farias said.
Jones also has a restaurant in the neighborhood called Taste So Good, which sells Caribbean food. His family is from Trinidad and he said that while growing up in Soundview, it was – and still can be – hard to find healthy, home-cooked meals.
“It was more like McDonald’s and Burger King and fast-food stuff, so I wanted to bring that to the community when I started doing okay for myself,” Jones added.
He had his big break at 14 years old after being sponsored by Supreme, which led to more opportunities like designing clothes and shoes for adidas.
As his career grows, so do his plans to give back. Jones plans to build a skatepark and donate skateboards to communities in need.