From Hardship to Triumph, Jeremiah Armstead’s Inspiring Journey of Resilience and Redemption

Jeremiah Armstead relocated so frequently that he wasn’t eligible to play high school basketball until his senior year. He never lost faith despite the fact that his family had to sleep in their car since they couldn’t get into a hotel or a shelter.

Armstead has not only survived, but flourished.

The Fisk forward made history on Monday by being the first player from a historically Black college or university or NAIA institution to receive the Perry Wallace Most Courageous Award from the United States Basketball Writers Association at their awards luncheon hours before the national championship game.

Armstead told how his family slept in their car on the beach the first night they relocated from Philadelphia to California.

That night, a police officer noticed a family of four sleeping in their car, despite the fact that parking was prohibited after midnight. “He just let us go. He let us stay there,” Armstead said. “So just encounters like that, with like everyday good people it just helped me to not, like, be mad at the world.”

They spent a few weeks at a hotel before moving to a shelter in Santa Monica. His mother drove him to school, a 40-minute drive one way, so she waited in a parking lot for lessons to end to save petrol and money.

Shelter time constraints also led them to relocate, making even playing basketball too difficult for a family focused on survival. They finally had some stability during his senior year, as he lived in an apartment for the first semester and into the second.

Jeremiah and his family had to make sacrifices throughout his high school career to allow him to attend practice.

“I had to take care, well be a father figure to my brother and sister, you know,” said Armstead. “So. Basketball was like my safe haven. I played basketball, that’s where I got to have fun. Be a kid again.”

He has a mentor in his coach Kenny Anderson, who himself understands what is it like to not have a stable home. “This young man, his life being being homeless and things of that nature really sat sat on me because I was evicted as a junior,” said Anderson. “I just was talking about that, the story this morning.”

Armstead that going to the Final Four to receive his award has given his family something to look forward to.

“I called my mama right after. She was so excited for me,” Armstead said. “So.I just love putting a smile on my family’s face and getting more news like that really helps out, because now she got something to smile about, you know? Now she got something to be proud for. My son is the first HBCU, NAIA player in history to receive that award. So that’s something, that’s something I’m proud of.”

Leave a Reply