By Melva N. Lloyd
Jones most recently made headlines for serving a six-month jail sentence stemming from steroid use and check fraud during her record-shattering track and field career. Ten years ago, the North Carolina University alum shined throughout the Sydney Olympics, winning the gold medal in the 100, 200 and 1,600 meter relay and the bronze in the 400 meter relay and long-jump. In 2007 she was stripped of her awards after she admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs during the games.
The 34-year old worked out with Shock coach and general manager Nolan Richardson and was signed to at least a one-year contract.
Jones was the starting point guard on UNC’s national championship team in 1994 and she was drafted by the Phoenix Mercury in 2003 but never played in the WNBA.
The Tulsa Shock relocated from Detroit earlier this year and enters the WNBA’s 13th season as a team that is a work in progress. Jones was set to play with All-Stars Deanna Nolan and Katie Smith but the two have recently stated that they do not plan to play for the Shock when the season tips off in May.
Team president Steve Swetoha is happy that his team is able to give a former standout athlete a another shot at success, “The city of Tulsa gave a struggling franchise from Detroit a second chance, and I’m confident it will do the same for Marion. We couldn’t be happier to have her on board.”
Before the Shock made the move to Tulsa, they were league champions in 2003, 2006 and 2008.
Richardson is known for his “40 Minutes of Hell” coaching style and is adamant that because Jones is a sprinter at heart, she’ll fit right in with the team’s style of play. “The one thing I do know is she can run, and any player on my team who wants to be successful needs be able to run.”
The Tulsa Shock will face the Minnesota Lynx when their season starts on May 15th.
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