The Sierra Canyon boys basketball team is known for its rich NBA bloodlines. Winners of back-to-back CIF State Open Division titles, the Trailblazers were led to those titles by the sons of NBA royalty, headlined by Scotty Pippen Jr. and KJ Martin, sons of Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen and former No. 1 overall pick Kenyon Martin.

This summer, the program added Zaire Wade, the son of recently retired Dwyane Wade, and Bronny James, the son of Lakers star LeBron James. Oh, and standout senior Terren Frank, his father, Tellis Frank, played in the NBA, too.

The names are impressive, and so are the accolades, but the student-athlete whose family has the richest athletic history is Sierra Canyon volleyball player Jaylen Jordan, but you’d never know it.

“We’re pretty low-key,” Jordan said with a shy smile.

Jordan’s grandfather is someone many consider an American hero, Rafer Johnson, who starred at UCLA before winning gold in the decathlon at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome. Johnson was the U.S. flag bearer at the 1960 Games and lit the Olympic torch in 1984 during the opening ceremonies in the Coliseum.

He also won silver in the 1956 Olympics in the same event.

“I’ve seen people meet Rafer and cry,” Sierra Canyon coach Stefanie Wigfall said. “Jaylen didn’t understand it so much as a freshman, but now as a senior, I think she understands how big of a deal her whole family is.”

Jordan’s mother, Jenny Johnson Jordan, won a women’s volleyball national championship with UCLA in 1991 before competing in the 2000 Sydney Olympics in beach volleyball. Jenny and partner Annett Davis became just the second duo in the world to compete in 100 events together. Jenny is now an assistant coach for UCLA’s women’s beach volleyball team.

“I always wish my mom would compete again,” Jaylen said. “I know she was good. Sometimes we talk about who was better at my age. She says she was a better passer … but she openly admits I’m more athletic.”

Jaylen’s father, Kevin Jordan, is one of UCLA’s best football players of all time. Kevin earned All-American honors with the Bruins before playing in the NFL with the Arizona Cardinals and Cincinnati Bengals.

“I know everyone around here talks about the basketball team and their NBA dads. I just keep my mouth shut,” Jaylen said.

Additionally, Jaylen’s great uncle, Jimmy Johnson, is known as one of the best one-on-one cover corners to play in the NFL. Jimmy was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1994.

Olympians. All-Americans. Hall of Famers. That’s quite the family.

Though the list of accolades runs long, there’s no pressure felt from Jaylen to achieve anything of that level. In fact, her fondest memories of Rafer have nothing to do with athletics.

“I’m pretty sure he taught me to ride a bike,” Jaylen said. “My favorite memory of him is when he jumped into the pool fully clothed to show my friends and I how to dive. We weren’t expecting it and we just all started laughing.”

In 2019, names like Rafer Johnson may not “ring a bell” to Jaylen’s classmates, but it wouldn’t matter anyway because Jaylen’s family is as humble as they come.

“My grandfather is the most humble person I know. It’s not like his trophies and stuff are all over the house or hanging in the hallways. I think a lot of it is in storage,” Jaylen shyly said laughing.

Sierra Canyon High School girls volleyball player Jaylen Jordan, center, reacts during a match against Viewpoint High School at Viewpoint High School in Calabasas on Tuesday, Sep 3, 2019. (Photo by Ed Crisostomo, Contributing Photographer)

Jaylen is one of four seniors leading an otherwise young Sierra Canyon volleyball team that is off to a roaring 12-1 start. She’s an impressive leaper and thunders the ball down to the hardwood floor with each attack.

“She’s a great teammate, a great leader and the ultimate competitor,” Wigfall said of Jaylen, who has committed to play volleyball at Long Beach State. “She’s fierce when she’s zoned in and competing.”

Since Jaylen was a freshman she has been an impact player for the Trailblazers, helping the program win two CIF Southern Section titles (2016, ’17) and a CIF State crown (’17).

Jaylen says she understands the family’s athletic pedigree, but sees them as her family first, of course. She’s starting to see how legacies are formed, too.

As her final high school volleyball match inches closer, she believes that a small legacy of her own is beginning to build.

“When I graduate I want to be remembered for being a winner,” Jaylen said. “It’s also important that the underclassmen on this team remember me for being a great teammate and leader that wasn’t afraid to get on them.”


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