Trail Blazers

How Portland Trail Blazers’ DJ OG ONE channels music to process life, mental health

Trail Blazers

The NBA in-arena fan experience has grown a tremendous amount throughout the years.

The food selection, the starting lineups and pump-up videos, the opportunity to win a car or other elite prizes at halftime, all the music you hear… There’s nothing that beats being at the game.  

You may know his as David Jackson, but for the last 13 seasons during Portland Trail Blazers home games at the Moda Center, he goes by ‘DJ OG ONE.’

But the smiley, energetic disc spinner hasn’t always radiated positivity, as seen in a two and a half hour Trail Blazers game. 

Jackson joined our men’s health series called HeadStrong to discuss more how the power of music saved his life.

“Music is always something I was connected to as far bask as I’ve known,” said Jackson. “It plays a major part in how I process life. Growing up in the inner city, I dealt with gangs. Growing up in a single-parent home with my mom and all the struggles that came along with that. Being poor. So music was a way for me to kind of process my emotions. 

Music spoke for me when I didn’t have the ability to articulate what I was feeling and what I was going through at the time. 


Then, at age 50 and following a routine colonoscopy, Jackson received life-changing news: a form of cancer, stage 3. 

Jackson began treatment through chemo and went in for a final surgery to remove the tumor. But when he woke in the hospital bed, temporary blindness and an intense pain came over his right arm.

Then the dark thoughts surfaced laying there in the hospital bed.


“There was a period of time when I was at the hospital, held hostage in my thoughts. I was going through a rollercoaster time: My life was over. My career was over, etc, etc. And that’s probably the first time in my life that I could consciously think of what it felt like to be depressed. 

I was thinking, ‘Something was missing.’ You know what, I have not listened to any music in I’ve been in here.


Jackson was then brought music headphones and then everything changed. The pain began to subdue, the left eye blindness was minimal, and things were finally trending in an upward trajectory, both physically and mentally.

“Me being the DJ and everything, all that is great and everything but to me it means nothing if I can’t use my platform to make an impact on someone else’s life.”

Watch more in the video above.