Note: For the full story on Tre Jones’ mother’s cancer journey and her influence on both him and his older brother Tyus, I highly recommend Tom Orsborn’s article from a few years ago. Read it here.
The day that Tre Jones’ mother, Debbie, broke the news to him that she was diagnosed with breast cancer still stands out to him, but so too does the spirit that pushed her every single day to beat it.
“It’s a very heavy thing to hear and obviously not know what to think in the moment,” he said following Friday night’s Spurs game versus Dallas. “[I felt] very heavy and negative in the moment and it was definitely a struggle right away. But then throughout the entire journey [I remember] just how positive she was, was definitely the thing that stuck out to me the most. Just her being extremely positive every single day and being able to push through. It took her just over a year to fight it out and get it all the way out of her body. I think just that positivity is what stuck out the most.”
The Joneses now help spread that positivity through their interaction with other survivors, support of breast cancer organizations, and by helping drive awareness for screening to all women.
Tre and Debbie were in the Frost Bank Center well after the final horn sounded to meet with another breast cancer survivor, Brenda, through Susan G. Komen, a foundation Tre and his older brother Tyus have both partnered with. The two families laughed and spoke extensively, well after the final horn had sounded and the hoops were broken down, presenting her also with a pair of Jones’ shoes — pink colorways, of course.
“It’s not really a guy’s color,” he says with a smile. Jones says he’s donned pink in some way every year since his mother’s diagnosis in 2019. “I love the color pink. I know what it stands for. A lot of women that are fighting breast cancer, survivors of it, it stands for so much.”
On the foundation, he added:
“I know that [Susan G. Komen] does tremendous work and obviously helped connect us with Brenda tonight. My mom in the past battled with breast cancer and beat it and our whole family is real close, and went through it together with her. We all felt the effects of that on the family and it helped bring us closer. To be able to partner with them and help some survivors and those who are battling with it right now, and just trying to be there for support. What was really big for my mom was the support from just everyone around her, friends and family, people we didn’t really know reaching out, sending prayers and everything. I think that was the biggest thing.”
Tre’s mother, Debbie, remains cancer-free. Debbie is an active champion of the cause while doubling down in her support for her sons. Following her attendance for the Friday tilt in San Antonio, she was scheduled to be in D.C. where Tyus will play on Monday to also meet with Susan G. Komen survivors.
Knowing the men she’s raised in Tre and Tyus, Debbie isn’t surprised by their efforts with the cause.
“Not at all,” she’s quick to say. “They are so willing to help, assist, do whatever they can — in any circumstance, but certainly with something that hits so close to home.”
“They [Tre and Tyus] are very vocal, they use their platform to bring as much awareness as possible, knowing what I had to go through, what our family had to go through — knowing how important it is to get screened, to trust your body. If something’s not right, don’t let things go —and just bringing awareness.”
For Tre, the opportunity to continue to remain involved in the cause, meeting with others affected by or fighting breast cancer, is reward in of itself:
“It really puts life into perspective,” he says. “We always get caught up in the basketball... maybe small struggles we’ve got going in life. Seeing someone like that, seeing the real life battle she’s going through every single day, knowing how tough she is, just puts it all into perspective. Just trying to bring some joy and positivity to her, because I know how much that can affect somebody.”