Seth Jones probably should have wound up a basketball player. He is tall, with a great vertical leap, and his father is Popeye Jones, who played 11 years in the N.B.A. and is now an assistant coach with the Nets.
But instead, Seth Jones, 18, is projected to be a top pick in the N.H.L. draft and may be on his way to becoming hockey’s first African-American star...
The N.H.L., mired in a lockout and struggling to renew fan interest, would probably welcome the marketing potential of a young African-American star, especially if Jones were to play, say, in Brooklyn when the Islanders move there in 2015.
Seth, whose mother, Amy, is white, said he would prefer that race not be part of the conversation when it comes to his hockey career.
“I don’t want to be looked at as an African-American, you know?” he said. “I want to be looked at as someone who has good character, and people know me for the person I am, not my color.”
Still, he said he understood why people asked about race. “Anytime I or anyone can help to get kids into the sport of hockey — or any sport, as a matter of fact — it’s huge,” he said.
But he added that being that kind of role model “can put a lot of weight on your shoulders.”