Rehabilitation, Sports in CDCR

Aaron ‘Showtime’ Taylor is changing his life one game at a time

Aaron Taylor wears a sports jersey and speaks into a microphone.
Aaron 'Showtime' Taylor calls a game at San Quentin. (Photo taken before the pandemic.)

When the Golden State Warriors announced a matchup with the San Quentin basketball team in 2013, Aaron Taylor made a request on a whim.

He was allowed to be the public address announcer for the game, and continued in that role for San Quentin sporting events as part of his rehabilitative programming. When Taylor paroled in 2020 after serving 27 years behind bars, he got a call he’d been waiting for his whole life.

“The Golden State Warriors called and asked if I’d be interested in being the public address announcer for an upcoming game,” said Taylor.

Taylor was center stage, with microphone in hand, calling the Warriors home game at the Chase Center in San Francisco on April 10, 2021.

“This shot that I took with the Warriors was like jumping for the moon. I jumped up and just happened to grab the moon, but you gotta jump, and you might catch a star on the way down. But, you have to have the heart to take the jump first,” Taylor said.

Word spread about his vocal talents. The American Basketball Association (ABA) called. The Venice Basketball League called. He believes they probably saw his performance on YouTube.

See him in action: Aaron Showtime Taylor on YouTube (May not be accessible on a CDCR computer.)

None of this would have been possible if Taylor hadn’t decided he needed to change his ways and clean up his act. He’s taken responsibility for the crimes he committed as well as the life he chose.

 “You get to the point where you stop blaming everybody for why you’re sitting in a cell and you take full and complete accountability for your actions, for your statements and for the way you chose to live your life,” Taylor said. “Now the choice is up to you.”

The light came on while he was serving time at California State Prison, Centinela, around 2005.

While there, he started taking advantage of the available rehabilitative programs. First it was Cage or Rage, then Alternatives to Violence. He also took a parenting class.

While at Centinela, he began writing a regular newsletter for others on the west block to lift people’s self-esteem. It was called “The Show,” earning him the nickname, “Showtime”.

He transferred to San Quentin in late 2011, where he kept up with his programming and rehabilitation. He joined Criminals and Gangsters Anonymous. Then in 2018 he joined the group that he says turned his life around, Guiding Rage into Power, or better known as GRIP.

“That’s when we did a deep dive backwards down the past to look at the traumas that I dealt with growing up. Until then, I didn’t know that trauma was stuff you dealt with that you had no control over. So, going back to my childhood, then into my teenage years, helped me understand the decisions that I was making in my early adult years led to me coming to prison in the first place,” Taylor said.

He was also involved in other rehabilitation programs at San Quentin.

“He was involved in a lot of programs while he was here,” said San Quentin Public Information Officer Lt. Sam Robinson, “including the San Quentin Athletic Association that promotes rehabilitation and social justice through sports.”

He met several of the Warriors players and executives, including President of Basketball Operations/General Manager Bob Meyers. Taylor told Meyers that every time he calls a Warriors game at San Quentin, he’s auditioning for a job. It worked. He got the Warriors gig.

Now that he’s a free man, Taylor is making the most of his vocal skills. He says he’s started his own company, Elevated Entertainment. Because he’s gotten so many offers to call games, he wanted to establish his own identity. He not only wants to be successful as a play-by-play announcer but also work with communities to get resources to those who need them most. He says he’s close to securing a building in Inglewood for his business.

In March, during the NBA all-star weekend, he says he was at the Mamba Sports Academy in Simi Valley calling the ABA all-star game. While there, he read a tribute to Kobe and his daughter Gianna. The Academy is named after Kobe Bryant, who was also known as Mamba. Bryant and his daughter, along with others, were killed in a helicopter crash Jan. 26, 2020. Taylor wrote the tribute while still incarcerated at San Quentin. Taylor was also the sports editor and columnist for the San Quentin News.

He said it’s been an incredible journey and he’s learned a lot over the years both inside the walls and outside. But, he says, everyone has a choice in life. His message to those currently incarcerated is, “you can all contribute and go back into society and be successful.”

“Not everybody ends up calling games for the Warriors,” Taylor said. “But, we do have people coming out (of prison) who are successful at being fathers, sons, and brothers. They become barbers or they work for the community cleaning trash. Some guys here in Los Angeles, they work at LAX Airport.”

Story by Joe Orlando, CDCR Public Information Officer.

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