Justin Jackson: Life after basketball may just bring out the best side of John Flowers

·4 min read

Aug. 19—MORGANTOWN — There are exceptions, but in a very general sense, we rarely get to see all that athletes have to offer in terms of character and personality.

John Flowers was very much one of those exceptions.

As a standout forward for the WVU men's basketball team a decade ago, we got to see the competitiveness and the smile, the work ethic and the desire, which just about covers the basics that we get to see in most college athletes.

What made Flowers unique was his uncanny way to give us more.

Maybe it was the dancing.

He had a few of them, ranging from his Dougie routine to his Irish Riverdance during the 2010 Big East tournament, or playfully mocking John Wall's dance after the Mountaineers beat Kentucky in the 2010 Elite Eight.

Or maybe it's the fact that so many of Bob Huggins' former WVU players have come back to visit the Coliseum during a game, but only one of them sat and played along with the antics amongst the WVU students.

That was John Flowers.

We fast forward through his 11 years as a pro ball player that took him to countries throughout South America, Europe and Asia, only to arrive at his current chapter.

Flowers is about to hang up his sneakers and is embarking on a new journey as a real estate agent for Compass Realty Group in Morgantown.

His interest in the real estate game, Flowers said, began simply through personal real estate investments, which eventually developed into him earning his real estate license.

"Honestly, I wish I would have done this while I was still back in college, " he said. "I never thought this would end up being a career for me, but after getting involved in it and seeing all that it's about, I wish I would have started out younger."

It's here we get to see yet another side to him, a creative and entertaining side of Flowers. It's seen in the form of some videos he's put out on social media.

One is of him showing a house to former WVU teammate Joe Alexander, which winds up being a few minutes of the two simply taking shots at each another.

"There's a bench in the shower, " Flowers begins. "You should be used to that from your days in Milwaukee."

The two then head out to a brick patio in the backyard.

"Bricks, " Alexander fires back. "Just like the ones you shot at WVU."

Another video shows Flowers with a father and his 5-year-old son, with the son not believing Flowers used to play basketball.

So, for the next few minutes, Flowers shows up the little kid, from stealing the ball from him to easily blocking every shot the kid throws up to the rim.

Rest assured Flowers is not randomly showing up in people's backyards challenging kids to a game of one-on-one.

"No, they were actually family members on my wife's side of the family, " he said.

It's not only an entertaining way for Flowers to get his name out to potential buyers and sellers, but it allows him to exercise his creative muscles he never got to use while playing basketball.

"My imagination has always been with me, " Flowers said. "I was like that back in college, but I never really got much of an opportunity to show it, but I've always liked being creative."

Flowers grew up in the Washington, D.C. area, but he's called Morgantown and West Virginia his home since his college days ended.

He's married with two young daughters. His wife is also in the process of earning her own real estate license.

His roots and future are firmly planted in West Virginia, a major reason why he put forth so much effort a few years back in bringing The Basketball Tournament (TBT) to Charleston, where Best Virginia (WVU alums) competed in front of their own fans.

He's not exactly finished with giving back, either.

A chance encounter at a basketball tournament in Cincinnati with a high-ranking member of Prasco Laboratories could one day lead to the company expanding into parts of the closed Mylan Pharmaceuticals buildings in Morgantown.

"It's very early, and there's just initial talks going on now, " Flowers said. "It's nothing more than talks right now, but if it were to happen, that means bringing back jobs for people in Morgantown. To play some small role in that would be the greatest thing."

For now, though, Flowers is transitioning to the daily grind of everyday life after athletics.

He's got a family to raise. He's a real estate agent now, at a time when higher inflation rates have had an effect on the housing market.

"I think I'm going through an identity crisis a little bit, " he said. "Basketball has been my whole life up to this point. Things are changing pretty fast, but you adjust and keep going. That's what I've always done."

It may all just bring out the best side of Flowers yet.

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