Kansas basketball legend Jackie Stiles featured in documentary

One of the best to ever pick up a basketball is having her story told in a new documentary.
Published: Mar. 15, 2022 at 9:57 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - One of the best to ever pick up a basketball is having her story told in a new documentary. “The Jackie Stiles Story,” premiered this month.

The documentary, a film by director Brent Huff, tells Jackie Stiles’ story from her early days and emergence as an elite high school talent at Claflin High School to becoming the all-time NCAA Division I scorer in women’s basketball, to playing the game at the highest level.

Through rigorous workouts and hours spent in the gym, Stiles emerged as one of the greatest basketball players of all time. Injuries ultimately cut her professional career short, but her mark on the game continues, even after her NCAA scoring record was broken.

Stiles coached at her alma mater, Missouri State, known as Southwest Missouri State, when she led the Bears on a Cinderella Final Four run during her senior season in 2001. She’s since bounced around to a couple different jobs and is now living in Springfield, Mo. home to Missouri State. She owns and operates J. Stiles Total Training and NexGen Fitness.

“The Jackie Stiles Story” premiered in Springfield on a date special to the star from Claflin, Kanas.

“They picked March 1 because that’s when I had [broken] the record, however many years ago,” she said. “I won’t date myself, but it was a lot of years ago. And so, you know, I’m seeing it for the first time when everybody else is seeing it in a theater, and I was blown away.”

The documentary also features several influential people in Stiles’ life, including recently retired Hall of Fame Coach Roy Williams, who kept the University of Kansas men’s basketball team among the nation’s elite through most of the 1990s into the early 2000s before guiding North Carolina to three national championships in the final 18 years of his decorated career.

At the high school level, a bigger influence on Stiles is her father, Pat Stiles, who has built a dynasty coaching the girls’ basketball team at Central Plains.

Last week, Stiles was in Great Bend to present her father with the 2022 KSHSAA Class 1-A Division II State Championship trophy and medals. It was the eighth consecutive state title for the Central Plains girls.

Stiles said the documentary “really covered a lot” from her upbringing in Claflin, her college run and her personal journey as a cancer survivor.

Huff said he first saw Stiles play at what was then Southwest Missouri State and he knew he wanted to tell her story.

“An undersized girl from a tiny Kansas town who had big dreams. She had the dream of being the greatest female basketball player in the world and she accomplished it with hard work, dedication, and grit,” Huff said. “And to me, there couldn’t be a better story.”

Jackie said she hopes her story can inspire those who see it.

“If I could just help one person do more and be better, then it was well worth my time in putting my story out there,” she said. “So, hopefully, everybody will get a chance to see it and hopefully, they’ll have a few more viewings.”

The hope is for a film production company to pick up the documentary soon. Both Huff and Stiles say there will be more viewings available. Details for those are pending.

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