Thank you, Jamari.

Founder, executive producer and now UGA alumnus. Jamari Jordan has already bid farewell to the University of Georgia, we have not bid farewell to him just yet. As he’s off to Charlotte, North Carolina to continue his career at the SEC Network, our current EP’s say goodbye and thank you.

Sammy Smith: 

Before I got to UGA, Kennington told me about this idea that you guys had for a website. He told me all about this crazy idea that you guys had called ELITE, and it was one of the reasons I came here. Then when I applied, I saw the name Jamari Jordan. At the time, I only knew the name from Twitter, to be honest. I only knew of this guy who threw shade, and at times seemed like the most unlikeable person on the Earth.

But over the last two years, he became one of the most influential people I will probably ever meet. While he has taught me a ton about journalism and writing, it isn’t near the amount as he taught me about life.

Jamari is all about hard work, no excuses, and not really complaining about the circumstances you’re dealt. He’s the guy that is always on you. He’s not afraid to hold you accountable. He never gives you compliments, and it’s because he knows that people don’t need validation. Validations leads to complacency. And he always says, “The most contagious thing in life is mediocrity.”

I didn’t believe in role models or mentors before I got to UGA, but I know that this a guy who I should aspire to be like. I’ve never told him, but thank you. Thank you teaching us to do what we love. Thank you for being a leader. Thank you for being a mentor. Thank you for being a friend. But most of all, thank you for giving me the opportunities to succeed and picking me up when I failed.

Now that you’re with SEC Network, you’re a walking example of living your dreams. I know it’s not goodbye, but UGA will never be the same without you on campus. Good luck to you bro.

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Kennington Smith: 

My second semester at UGA is when I started going to Tate Time. On one of my first trips there, I walked up to a guy and said “You’re Jamari?”; he answered yes. I told him who I was and I heard about what he’s doing and that I wanted to learn from him and ultimately be better than him. He just looked at me for a few seconds and said “If you’re really serious about this, I will hold you to it every single day.” I agreed and he’s kept up that end of the deal ever since.

I never predicted what would follow in the coming years. To co-founding ELITE with him and AJ, to countless nights being up late working on video projects and class assignments to our deep conversations that had nothing to do with journalism at all, Jamari has made such an impact in my life that’s hard to put into words. His presence on campus and at ELITE  has been so powerful and to be quite honest, not having him around anymore to be the safety net he’s been scares the hell out of me.

Jamari has always said that its not enough to succeed, you have to reach back and help others succeed; and thats exactly what he’s done. Every time he had a video project, he gave opportunities to others to help him, I’ve seen Jamari edit dozens of resumes/cover letters and give his famous “Jamari Talks” when he helps others realize their true passion. What he’s leaving in ELITE is a powerful tool for writers to grow and have a voice and for leaders to grow.

All I can say is thank you. Thank you for everything and I know that at some point in the future you’ll be scrolling down your Twitter timeline and see ELITE flourishing, and you’ll be proud of the legacy you left. Good luck and love you bro.

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AJ Porter: 

When I first came to UGA, I didn’t like Jamari at all. I didn’t really know much about him as a person, only what I saw on Twitter—the guy throwing endless shade and spewing his irrelevant opinions all throughout social media. “Whose man is this?” I asked myself. “Who does this guy think he is?” Gradually though, I began to actually get to know Jamari through mutual friends and ended up forging a solid friendship with him. As a matter of fact, becoming close with Jamari was one of the best decisions I’ve made at UGA.

Jamari is annoying—a real life Skip Bayless or Simon Cowell. He is a critic. He’s always going to tell you about yourself whether you want to know or not. He doesn’t give compliments and always has an opinion. But I always say everyone needs a friend like him. He’s the future of media and sports. Jamari has a passion for using media to tell stories and he’s damn good at it. He has ambition, drive, and passion and he’s definitely going places. But those aren’t the things that I will remember most about Jamari.

For me it’s the influence and guidance that he has shown us through ELITE. Jamari is always pushing us to be greater and to do more; to never be satisfied with success. When Jamari and I first spoke about creating ELITE, it was just an idea. Jamari showed just what can happen when you put action behind a vision. He’s always been helpful and a big influence on me in my major. To be honest, it’s hard to put in words the impact Jamari has had on myself and everyone in ELITE alone. Now that he is gone, things are going to be drastically different.

Jamari was easily the heart and soul of ELITE. None of this has been possible without him. Even beyond that though, Jamari leaving will mark the end of some good times with a good friend. From the endless Twitter shade, his looming presence over Tate Time, the first ever documentary on black student life, and the always-needed kick in the ass when we aren’t living up to our potential, Jamari will definitely be missed. Most of all, I’ll miss having a friend who I can talk to about anything. Good people are hard to come across and Jamari Jordan is definitely one of the best.

I’ll miss my friend, but I know I’ll be keeping in contact with him and seeing his name at the end of an ESPN 30 for 30 real soon. In the meantime though, I’ll hold down Tate Time in his honor. Thanks for everything, Jamari. We’ll be sure to make you proud.

 

Thank you, Jamari 

Sincerely,

ELITE (Exceptional Leaders Identifying Talent in Everyone)

 

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