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Shifting dreams, giving back and finding purpose, the powerful story of Jacksonville's Aaron Bowen

'Play Your Game' is a clothing line formed after an NBA dream was taken away.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — In life we all face trials and tribulations that force us to sometimes question whether or not our dreams are attainable.

Aaron Bowen, the former Wolfson High and Georgetown University basketball star is back home and giving back to the youth in Jacksonville through the game he loves.

Bowen's longterm goal was to make it to the NBA and provide for his family, but that never happened.

Bowen's dream turned into a nightmare when he suffered back injuries so severe he had to learn to walk all over again. Doctors told him it wouldn't be wise for him to play basketball again.

"Every day I thought about it and sometimes I was in my room crying. Just knowing something that I love had been taken away from me," says Bowen.

Bowen endured four grueling months of rehab, but things only got worse when he was involved in a second accident.

Stressed and feeling overwhelmed Bowen says he was in his room when the spirit spoke to him.

"One day I was sitting in my bed. No lights on. No TV. Just sitting there. And something just hit me and said, put it in God's hands. Everyone on Earth is here for a reason and has a purpose in life. So, if you just play your game and don't worry about the distractions in life you'll succeed and fulfill that purpose," Bowen said.

It's how he came up with Play Your Game. First it was just a motivational slogan, turned clothing line and also the name of his upcoming basketball camp. But Bowen made it clear that PYG's purpose is bigger than a camp or clothing line.

Credit: Play Your Game
Aaron Bowen, Play Your Game

"I want to be that voice where kids can be like, Aaron played on every level. Aaron been through this and that, and when they see PYG it's a reminder to them that they can do it too. Everybody has a rough time in life but if you just play your game and don't worry about nothing, I just feel like you'll stay on track and you'll get there," says Bowen.

Bowen is hosting his basketball camp July 15th and 16th at Landmark Middle School.

The middle school campers will hit the court from 9 a.m. until noon.
The high school campers will start camp at 1p.m. and it will wrap up at 4p.m.

By the way, Bowen did return to the basketball court.

He's had several stints overseas and he just wrapped up his season with the Jacksonville Giants.

Bowen also said his Play Your Game clothing line is doing well.

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