by Jason Goudlock
Dear Brittney Griner,
My name is Jason Goudlock (pronounced good-lock), and I’m the imprisoned African-American man that you spoke about during a brief interview that you gave to TMZ Sports in 2014, regarding a lighthearted comment that I made about LeBron James at the end of a serious letter that I’d written to the Ohio Parole Board , shortly before my then-fifth release consideration hearing.
The comment – which was internationally publicized and reported out-of-context by many media outlets – expressed my desire to be paroled from my indefinite prison sentence of 34 years for aggravated robbery and felonious assault, that is, so I could “witness” LeBron James’ pursuit of his third NBA championship after he was reacquired by my hometown team, the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Unbelievably, however, following the publicizing of my LeBron comment, I was issued two consecutive five-year sentence continuances, and l’ve now been imprisoned for a total of 29 consecutive years – which is an unimaginable amount of time that I never thought I’d serve as a first time convicted offender.
Today, as I sit still frustrated inside of a cell, reflecting on my nexus to your injustice in Russia, as well as the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, I’m writing this open letter to you in the interest of solidarity, that is, to tell you that I want you to #StayMandelaStrong until you are freed!
Like myself, you are a strong person and a phenomenal athlete, and I want to remind you that you possess an internal, glowing-red, Venus-and-Serena, Mike Tyson-like strength to overcome anything! And with this being said, when all else fails, you have to activate that internal “on-switch” that you most definitely possess. Activate that switch and do what you have to do to protect your mind, body and soul!
Take everything one day at a time, and just always, always remember that you have that internal on-switch at your disposal. It’s the same on-switch that you’ve activated throughout your life to become the iconic woman that you are today. You can and will make it through your predicament. Keep fighting mentally, and pray to the higher power that governs everything, and I promise you – your salvation will be granted.
As an additional showcasing of support and hopeful inspiration to you, I want to tell you, as well as the world, that, upon my release from prison – in spite of my age and the improbability of me being able to accomplish this feat – in some kind of capacity, I am going to tryout to play professional basketball somewhere on this Earth! My on-switch – it still works, and it is going to stay on!
One day, when we are both freed, I want a real one-on-one game against you, too; plus, I want to have a real dunk contest against you for a charitable cause (I can still jump out of the gym, like a young version of Baron Davis. But, honestly, I’m working on rejuvenating my inner-Russell Westbrook-like athleticism)!
Considering both of our circumstances, though, I think it would definitely be a basketball story for the ages. I’d rank it on par with the incredible story of the legendary NYC basketball player Lloyd Daniels.
Before I conclude this letter, being that people from all over the world might potentially read this, I want to say that I hope and pray that the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine is brought to an end! We are all human beings on this earth, and despite our differences in beliefs, race and nationality, we have to treat one another humanely.
Thus, the only hatred of someone, if any, should exist in the arena of sports, as in the fashion of the way that an Ohio State Buckeye might dislike a Michigan Wolverine.
We all have to do better. Every country, and every race.
I conclude this letter to you, BG, by saying, in the words of the late and great Tupac Shakur, “Keep your head up!” And, “Stay strong!”
Your time of discomfort will come to pass. Absolutely nothing remains the same. So, with this being said, make sure you do everything you have to do to maintain your physical, mental and spiritual health. And, no matter what, pray. Make sure you keep your on-switch activated!
I’m looking forward to you being released, hopefully, soon. And, I’m looking forward to hopefully meeting you one day.
 Jason Goudlock’s publicized 2014 letter to the Ohio Parole Board can be viewed on FreeJasonGoudlock.org.
Jason Goudlock, 47, an African-American over-incarcerated Ohio prisoner, is the author of the forthcoming novel “Two One Six” as well as the subject of the feature-length documentary film “Invisible Chess: The Jason Goudlock Story.” Send our brother some love and light: Jason Goudlock, 2840561, 2001 E. Central Ave., Toledo OH 43608.