In his four years at Montclair State University, the six-foot-six-inch senior men’s basketball guard/forward Justin Porter has had the same routine.
The right sneaker slips on first, then the left. Porter leaves the locker room and he gets in front of hundreds of fans as he steps onto the court. He hears the announcer call his name, gets up and gives high-fives to all of his teammates.
Growing up, basketball was Porter’s first love. Although he played other sports like track and football, there was something different about the game of basketball and the joy that it brought him.
In high school, he made a decision to focus solely on basketball, leaving the other sports behind. All of the countless hours in the gym came with a great reward as it was time to continue his passion in his college career.
Having received offers from Division I programs and other universities, none of them won Porter over like Montclair State did. Montclair State is closer to his home in Trenton, New Jersey and has one of the best athletic training programs in the country.
Coming into college, he was told it was impossible to be a student-athlete and have an athletic training major. History showed that athletes had to pick one or the other, but could never continue on with both passions. This did not have any effect on Porter.
Porter and his advisor mapped out a plan in order for him to succeed and be the first ever to graduate while doing both.
“I wanted to make the impossible possible,” Porter said,
Year after year since 2016, Porter has left his mark on the court.
Porter played in 26 games his freshman year, 24 in both sophomore and junior year and 25 in his final season as a senior. Porter has left an imprint in Red Hawk basketball, just like how his favorite player, LeBron James, has left an imprint on his life. He has a total of 632 points, 446 rebounds and played over 2,000 minutes. This is just a glimpse of the career he has had while wearing the number zero.
Porter talked about the number that he puts on every game day and what it means to him.
“In my eyes, it can’t be defined. It stands by itself,” Porter said. “It means forever, it is its own number. Came in undefined and leave unforgettable.”
Porter is truly unforgettable. Throughout the years, he has had fans cheering at the top of their lungs and stomping their feet. He has left his teammates shellshocked in jaw-dropping plays. More importantly, he has left it all out there as he played his final game in Panzer Athletic Center on Feb. 15.
The Red Hawks were down by three points with 18 seconds left as Porter got the steal and was fouled on a three-point attempt that sent him to the line to possibly tie the game. The senior walked up to the free-throw line with a big smile on his face, ready and determined to see the ball go through the net one more time for the Red Hawks.
“In high school, I was always known for taking the late game free throws and finishing games,” Porter said. “It brought me joy to see how it always comes back around to me.”
Although his time as a Red Hawks basketball player has concluded, Porter will always remember the memories that he has made these past four years. He will always remember having his mother, his number one supporter and best friend, at the game cheering her heart out for her son. He will always remember the days he stepped on the court and played alongside his brothers.
Most importantly, Montclair State will always remember the legacy that Porter has left both on and off the court forever.