Since 2002, when the McDonald’s All-American basketball game was first instituted for high school girls, there has not been a high school player from Detroit to make the prestigious All-American team. Detroit Edison senior forward Rickea Jackson changed all that when she made the roster for the west team this year.
The game, which features 24 of the top senior girls basketball players in the country, will take place March 27 in Atlanta.
The 6-foot-2 Jackson is the No.1 player in the state of Michigan, on the No.1 team in the state. The Pioneers had a game against Detroit Renaissance on Tuesday night, but she had no idea she was receiving her McDonald’s All-American jersey too.
“This was a very big surprise,” said Jackson, who signed with Mississippi State. “I’ve been on social media seeing everyone else get their jersey, but I never asked about mine. I knew it was coming, but I didn’t know it was going to be this big.”
“It means everything to make history in my own city and I’ll always give back to Detroit.”
Jackson was destined to play in the game ever since she stepped into high school. As a freshman, she was on ESPN’s National Watchlist for girls basketball players. When she was a sophomore, she was ranked the No. 9 best player in her class by EPSN and led Edison to its first ever state title in any sport. By the time she was a junior, she was known all around the country, and was named Player of the Year by Gatorade, the Detroit Free Press, the Associated Press, the Black Athlete, and MLive, among others. She also led the Pioneers to back-to-back state titles.
Now a senior, Jackson is eyeing more accolades, including Naismith High School Player of the Year and Michigan Miss Basketball.
“Just to have all of these awards and accolades under my belt is so meaningful to me,” said Jackson. “My teammates helped me get to where I am today and I’m overall blessed.”
Representatives from McDonald’s, including the prominent Thrower family, who own a number of restaurants in the Detroit area, Jackson’s family and friends, and the local media gathered at halftime for her to receive her jersey in a glass frame.
“Rickea, congratulations on making your dream come true of being a McDonald’s All-American,” said Joni Thrower, whose parents built the McDonald’s near Jackson’s school on Mack and I-75. “On behalf of McDonald’s, we would like to thank everyone who joined Rickea for this ceremony and we encourage everyone to watch her on March 27 in Atlanta as she competes against the best basketball talent in the country.”
The entire nation knows about Jackson’s prowess on the hardwood. She is Edison’s all-time leading rebounder, has led her team in scoring all four years, and has them ranked as one of the best teams in the country. But she is much more than that. She has a 3.2 overall GPA and does a lot of community service.
For the last two years, Jackson has been the leader of the “Brown Bag Project,” recruiting a group of her peers to assist her in providing brown bag lunches to the homeless. Younger students decorated the brown bags to create a sense of happiness and the older students bagged and distributed the bags.
She also participated in a community service project called “Steps in the Right Direction,” providing shoes for underserved children.
“I always wanted to give back,” said Jackson. “I have been fortunate to have the things that I have and not everyone is in the position that I am in. So just to give back means a lot.”