PLNU women’s basketball alumna Crissa Jackson has a new nickname, but not just any nickname given to her by friends.
Call her Crissa “Ace” Jackson— the new addition to the Harlem Globetrotters, an exhibition basketball team that has participated in community outreach programs both domestically and internationally since 1927.
Jackson, who transferred to PLNU for two years from 2010 to 2012 from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, will be playing her first game for the Globetrotters on December 26 in Baltimore, Maryland.
Former head coach Bill Westphal attributed her strength and character to her induction on the team.
“Crissa was a true point guard, she was a great ball-handler—that’s probably why she’s on the Globetrotters,” said Westphal. “She was very quick with the ball, could get by anybody, and was strong and physical. She was a terrific leader.”
In her short time at PLNU, Jack- son led the Sea Lions in her first sea- son in virtually every category including steals, assists and points—with averages of 1.9, 4.3 and 15.4 per game. In her final collegiate season, she led the team in steals and assists.
“To spectators, they probably saw Crissa as just a scoring machine,” said former women’s basketball player Joelle Herron via email. “However she was more than just a scorer, her basketball IQ, phenomenal ball handling skills, court vision, strength, quick- ness, agility, endurance, creativity and passing ability made her a great asset to the team and the best point guard I’ve had the privilege to play with.”
But basketball wasn’t her first priority after graduating from PLNU. After leaving in 2012, Jackson started working –in January, 2012- as a personal fitness trainer at KOR Strength and Conditioning in North Park. In June of 2014, she left for her home- town in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania where she continued her work as a personal fitness trainer.
During her time in Harrisburg, Jackson was contacted by Chris “Handles” Franklin, who has been on the Harlem Globetrotter’s roster since 2009. Prior to the tryouts in August of this year, Franklin told her that there was a spot on the team.
Jackson, who is one of the 13 women to be added to the Harlem Globetrotter’s roster, said her father initially discouraged her from practicing basketball at the age of six because of her height and gender. After her she told him that she would ‘tell her mom,’ however, he agreed to train her.
“Once that point was over, it was girl power from then on with him,” said Jackson in a phone interview with the Point. “Which is what I hope to show as being a Globetrotter—is girl power. Being one of the thirteen girls, I hope I can give all the girls out there inspiration and show them that we can do this.”
When asked if the combination of the four and a half month schedule and international travel –including Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and France- was daunting, she was quick to object.
“No not at all, I am looking forward to it,” said Jackson. “How many people get to say that they get to travel to 122 countries and six continents? I am looking forward to every single game, every moment, putting a smile every kid’s face, every family. The more I can do the better off I am going to be, you know. I am just happy to be a part of it, honestly.
“Just being able to travel and being able to perform in front of all these families, or brightening up these people’s days—you never know what they’re going through at the time. Just the whole package itself, I am just super happy to be a part of the Globe- trotters.”
Crissa “Ace” Jackson will be playing in San Diego on February 12 and 19, 2016, at the Valley View Casino Center on Sports Arena Boulevard.