As far back as Lesown Hallums, Jr. can recall, his life has been shaped by two enduring forces: basketball and an unstable family. While basketball served as a source of joy and opportunity, the challenges with his family made forging ahead in life a formidable task.
Difficulties commenced with his parents’ acrimonious divorce, subjecting him to family court battles and the distressing task of choosing between his parents. His mother, residing in Brooklyn’s projects, struggled while his father remarried, bought a house, and gained custody of him, his two siblings, and two stepsiblings. Despite his desire to live with his mother, he prioritized staying with his siblings.
Entering high school, Lesown’s basketball talent enabled him to attend Brooklyn Prospect Charter School, offering a respite from family challenges. However, back home, his mother grappled with caring for his grandmother, who battled schizophrenia. Her worsening condition, coupled with her refusal of medication, led to violent episodes, prompting multiple police interventions. Returning home during summers, Lesown witnessed the toll on his mother, and the stress began affecting him as well. Eventually, his mother’s breakdown necessitated hospitalization, forcing his grandmother into a shelter in the Bronx.
To distance himself from the troubles back home, he attended Mendocino College in the Bay Valley Conference. As a freshman, he finished fourth in the league, scoring 21.2 points per game. Following the cancellation of the 2020-21 season due to COVID-19, he returned to the Mendocino College Eagles and increased his scoring to 25.1 points per game while grabbing 10 rebounds per game. He transferred to South Carolina State last season, averaging 10.6 points and scoring more than 20 points three times. This season, he returned to California, enrolling at Pacific, and through the Tigers’ first 21 games, Lesown has started 12, averaging 7.5 point per game with seven double-digit scoring performances, including 25 points in the conference opener against the University of San Francisco — the most points scored by any Tigers player this year.
In the classroom, Lesown has a 3.83 GPA, the highest on the men’s basketball team, while taking 17 credits. He has one more year of eligibility left and is on pace to graduate in spring 2025 with a degree in sociology.
“Living with someone who has a mental illness brings significant stress into the lives of those around them. There’s no doubt it’s taken a toll on my mental health and well-being,” Lesown said. “The past few years have been emotionally draining, but I owe my resilience to the unwavering support of friends, teammates, and my girlfriend, who comfort me during challenging times.”