A Living, Breathing National Treasure, Marcellus “Boo” Williams Is Much More Than a Legendary Name In Basketball. He’s One of America’s Preeminent Youth Advocates, Whose Accomplishments May One Day Warrant Induction into The Naismith Hall of Fame. But He Is, And Means, So Much More than All of That.
[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t was the longest ride ever. At least that’s what it felt like to Marcellus “Boo” Williams.
With his long legs pedaling the bicycle at a snail’s pace through the Phoebus neighborhood of Hampton, Virginia in 1968, the nine-year-old felt deflated, cheerless, miffed and frustrated.
As he rode home from that spring’s baseball tryouts, where he’d just gotten cut from the local team, his mind was flooded with the irritating thoughts of what he did wrong, and why he wasn’t good enough.
And he made a pact with himself, then and there, that it would never happen again.
“So many kids tried out for the team,” said Williams in late October, as he sat behind his massive desk in the $13.5 million, 135,000 square foot indoor sports complex that bears his name in Hampton.
As he recounted the story, the cherubic, innocent smile etched in his gleaming face betrayed the hurt of that day long ago.
“When I was riding home on that bike, I was determined that from that point on, that I was going to work that much harder to make sure I’d never experience that feeling again, that in anything I did, getting cut or not being good enough was never again going to be an option,” Williams said.
WHO IS BOO WILLIAMS?
Some might not know who he is or what he does, but if they are even vaguely familiar with youth and AAU basketball, they’re aware of the name Boo Williams. Perhaps they’ve heard of his elite tournaments, legendary travel teams, the palatial sports complex in Virginia, his coaching acumen and competitiveness, or that he was mentor and father figure to some of the game’s greats like Alonzo Mourning and Allen Iverson.
But most don’t know that he’s the epitome of what a youth advocate should be, a man of humble origins who had a simple vision of utilizing the game he loves as a weapon for positive elevation, not only for kids, but for families, a town, a community, a region and an entire state.
There is a saying that ‘The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their own dreams.’ And there is no better embodiment of that sentiment than the soft-spoken, gregarious and beaming slice of humanity named Boo Williams.
In order to fully appreciate the full scope and plethora of his amazing accomplishments, you have to start at the beginning.
“He cried all the time when he was a baby, so we called him Boo Boo,” said his mother, Patricia. “As he got older, we just cut one of the Boo’s off.”
He was part of a large group of kids that perpetually scoured the neighborhood looking for a game. And his parents made sure that he always had an activity to go to.
“My kids were in and out of the house between school, football, baseball, basketball or just being active with the neighborhood kids outside,” said Patricia. “My mom always said. ‘An empty wagon makes the most noise going down the street.’ In other words, I kept them busy so their mind wouldn’t wander.”
Despite being a good tight end and defensive end in high school, in an area where football was king, Williams was drawn to the hardwood, where he blossomed into a fantastic player. He accepted a scholarship to play basketball at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, a decision that would prove, many years down the road, to be serendipitous.
“The summer before my freshman season, I played in the Sonny Hill League in Philadelphia,” said Boo. “The basketball was great. There were so many talented players. I played on the same team as Buck Williams and we didn’t win a game. But there was so much more to it than basketball.”
“I loved how it was run, how the community responded to it, how Sonny incorporated an education piece, how he brought in accomplished people to share their stories with us,” he continued. “The guys from New York and Philly, they were used to playing in summer leagues. That really helped their development. In Hampton, we didn’t have anything like that. We only played during the season. That planted the seed right there. I wanted to take what Sonny Hill was doing, and bring that to my own hometown.”
During his college career, from 1977 to 1981, Williams became one of the best players in the history of St. Joe’s hoops and in Philly’s fabled Big Five while accumulating over 1,500 points and 800 rebounds.
A 6-foot-8 post player, he was a crafty scorer who made a living playing with his back to the basket, utilizing an arsenal that is a lost art today: a plethora of hook shots, spin moves, up-and-unders, head-fakes and supreme footwork, along with having a geometry wizard’s understanding of the innumerable angles to convert shots off the glass.
“I was an undersized post,” said Boo. “I wasn’t no high-flyer and you won’t find me on any highlight reels. You won’t catch me on Youtube,” he says softly, before a cackling rumble of laughter explodes from his larynx. “But I knew how to play!”
As a senior, Boo led St. Joe’s to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament, where they lost to the eventual National Champions, Indiana University, who were led by their preternaturally gifted sophomore point guard prodigy, and future Detroit Pistons legend, Isiah Thomas.
“Man, Isiah, he could control the entire tempo of a game all by himself,” said Boo. “Whew, he was something.”
Williams’ normally soft, comforting voice grew more resolute and stout with each of the following words. “Man, he could play. He could play! HE COULD PLAY!”
As he reminisced about Isiah and his collegiate playing days, along with the other phenomenal players that he competed against, his eyes began to dance, like The Godfather of Soul, James Brown, in the midst of a funky, spiritual drum and horn riff.
“We played against North Carolina, who had James Worthy and Sam Perkins, before Michael Jordan was there,” said Boo, with calm excitement. “We beat DePaul, the #1 team in the country in the Sweet 16, with Mark Aguirre, and he was really good. I played against those tough Georgetown teams with Sleepy Floyd and Maryland, who had Buck Williams and Albert King. Man, I played against some great players in college.”
If not for a creaky set of knees, Boo could’ve had a shot at the NBA. Instead, he played three years of professional basketball overseas. And it was in Belfast, Ireland, that he found his love of coaching and mentoring others.
“I started out in coaching with a professional women’s team over there,” said Boo. “I got into that, and teaching clinics, to earn some extra money. During the day, that gave me something to do.”
Being in France and Ireland might seem like it could’ve been overwhelming to a small-town kid fresh out of college, but Williams loved every minute of it.
“The first day I went to Ireland, it was crazy,” he said with a lively, playful smile. “There were tanks all over the streets, soldiers everywhere. But they were the nicest people you’d ever want to meet. I had a great time over there.”
“I knew they were fighting a war, but they weren’t shooting up no black folks,” he said, his signature giggle again interrupting his reverie. “If it wasn’t for my bad knees, I could’ve lived there for a long time. I really liked the people, even though they went to the pub every night. Every night! EVERY NIGHT!!!” His ensuing mirth, more intense now, bounced across the walls in his roomy work space.
BUILDING A LEGACY IN HAMPTON AND BEYOND
Even though his professional career ended in 1985, he started the Boo Williams Summer League in Hampton during the summer of 1982, returning home during his vacations to run and oversee the league.
“We started with four teams and were playing in T-shirts,” said Boo. “People knew who I was because I grew up and played in this area, but nobody thought we could become a haven for great basketball talent. No one thought we could turn it into one of the biggest, most respected and accomplished basketball programs in the country.
“The Hampton area was synonymous with football,” he went on. “I knew there was talent here and was determined to bring that out. I had a vision of developing something, similar to what Sonny Hill did in Philadelphia, to nourish that talent, so we could be reckoned with on a national scale.”
While working as a coach at the renowned Five-Star Basketball Camps, run by the legendary Howard Garfinkel, the vision that Williams had for Hampton and the surrounding Virginia Tidewater region was not merely doubted. It was summarily dismissed.
“A doubter will say that you at least have a chance at doing something,” said Boo. “When I was working at Five-Star, with young coaches like Rick Barnes, John Calipari, Mike Fratello, Herb Sendek and Rick Pitino, this was before they became big names, when they were running the canteen, Garfinkel told me, ‘You can’t build no program with them boys down there, Boo. Don’t even waste your time. Why don’t you just concentrate on becoming a college coach?’”
Undaunted, along with the help of his mother, siblings and a few trusted associates, he forged ahead, expanding the summer league each summer. He begged local businessmen for sponsorship money and swept the gym before, during and after every game. He coached, organized schedules and coordinated the minute nuts and bolts of his blossoming organization.
His initial league of four teams grew to eight the next summer. It then expanded to sixteen, and multiplied each year, as the word began to spread about its quality.
Then, providence, luck and coincidence came knocking on his door in the form of a teenage prodigy. He was a young man physically blessed by the Basketball Gods, a 6-foot-9 man-child from nearby Virginia Beach named Herman Reid Jr.
“J.R. Reid was the first big-time player that we had,” said Boo. “He eventually became the National High School Player of the Year and the #1 recruit in the country. That’s when we hit the road!”
Shortly after Reid began playing under the Boo Williams banner, the program hit the jackpot with another young phenom from nearby Chesapeake, Virginia. His name was Alonzo Mourning.
“We had J.R. and Alonzo on the same travel team, and right then and there, that gave us credibility throughout the country,” said Boo. “The fact that we had those guys back-to-back really helped us take off.”
Sonny Vaccaro, the man considered the Godfather of grassroots basketball, signed some of the top college coaches to endorsement deals in the early 1980’s, which made the Nike swoosh ubiquitous on college basketball telecasts. And after perhaps executing his greatest coup, by convincing a precocious rookie named Michael Jordan on the merits of having his own signature shoe line with the fledgling shoe company, Vaccaro turned his attention to the youth summer hoops scene.
Among the AAU programs he signed up in the mid ‘80s to groundbreaking sponsorship deals were the powerhouse Riverside Church Hawks program in New York City, the St. Cecilia program in Detroit, the Slam-N-Jam program in Southern California, the San Fernando Valley’s ARC program, and a swiftly rising outfit out of Hampton, Virginia named The Boo Williams All-Stars.
“I’ve watched Boo grow this thing, and he’s done it with nothing but class,” Vaccaro told Rich Bradford of the Virginia Pilot in 2007, as construction was well underway for the Boo Williams Sportsplex. “He did it without a lot of fanfare. And now look at it. Of those I signed at the start, Boo is really the last man standing. And the game’s not over for Boo. He’s still a young guy.”
Howard White, a Nike executive and former basketball player at the University of Maryland who is a Hampton native, was instrumental in Williams’ program being among the first to be sponsored by the sneaker company, whose subsequent explosive growth would mirror Boo’s own rise in stature.
“Boo and I are from the same neighborhood,” said White, who in addition to his own accomplished career as an executive in the athletic shoe industry, is the author of Believe to Achieve: See The Invisible, Do The Impossible. “He’s a few years younger than me. When I was in high school, he would come over and play basketball with us. It was one of those things where if you saw a young guy trying to do something, you helped out. And Boo was always trying to do something, so we were like mentors to him.”
White still marvels at the essence of Boo Williams, whose vision stretched far beyond what anyone could imagine at the time.
“Boo is the epitome of wanting to help others succeed,” said White. “He always had a vision for wanting to help those kids and the community, going back to when he first started his summer league and he was begging local businessmen to sponsor it. To see how he’s been true to that vision, and the results he has achieved, that’s pretty amazing.”
Those results are indeed astounding. His program has produced nine NBA lottery picks, including Reid, Mourning, Bryant Stith, Ed Davis, Patrick Patterson, JJ Reddick and Kendall Marshall.
And here’s a fascinating bit of trivia to chew on – What program is the ONLY one, other than Duquesne University in 1955 and 1956, to ever produce, in back-to-back years, the overall #1 in the NBA draft?
It’s not Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina or Kansas. The answer is actually Boo Williams, with Joe Smith and Allen Iverson in 1995 and 1996 respectively. But that is merely the tip of his iceberg of accomplishments.
“Our program has had five National Players of the Year, we’ve had over 550 kids get college scholarships and close to 30 McDonald’s All-Americans, both boys and girls. In last year’s NCAA Tournament alone, we had 23 of our former players competing for the various colleges in the field,” said Boo.
Another distinguishing characteristic, among many others, of Boo Williams’ operation is that his girls program is equally as strong as the boys.
“Boo loves that girls program,” said Butch Harper, who has worked alongside Williams since the early 1980’s when the program was in its infancy. “Boo enjoys coaching and developing those girls just as much, if not more than the boys. And I’ll tell you, you haven’t lived until you’ve seen a six-year-old girl, covered in wrist and headbands, assume the triple-threat position.”
“The girls don’t get anywhere near the media hype, but Boo doesn’t care,” said Daily Press journalist David Teel. “He just wants to promote opportunities for young people through the sport that he has loved since he was a child.”
Another unique trait that separates the Boo Williams program is its emphasis on skill development, from the youngest kids who can’t dribble, on up through the elite college recruits who can execute a windmill dunk in their sleep.
“When Boo started his program, he told me he needed someone to organize the little kids,” said Harper. “We started out with the Handsome Hoyas and pretty soon, we had Boo Williams youth development teams all over the area, in Newport News, Norfolk, Chesapeake, etc. He knew instinctively that those older players he had that were very good were at one point little guys.”
But the stress on skill development went beyond the basketball court.
“If you want a kid to be proficient in Spanish when he’s 15, then you should start teaching him at six years old,” said Harper. “It’s the same thing in basketball. We differentiate ourselves as an organization through our emphasis on grades and academics. When AAU went to a minimum 2.0 policy, where a kid had to have at least a C average in order to compete, we instituted that with our youngest kids, even though it was a high school rule.”
Yet another distinctive attribute of the Boo Williams program is its inclusiveness.
“This thing has to be about the entire community in order for it to be successful,” said Boo. “All of the kids that play with us on our youth level teams are not great players. We have over 2,500 kids overall in the various programs under the Boo Williams umbrella. Most of them are not going to play in the NBA.”
“Our philosophy is that the least talented kid is more important than any coach in our program,” said Harper. “In our eyes he’s just as good as the guy who can dribble with his feet and dunk the ball with the back of his head. The only prerequisite to play with us has nothing to do with your talent level. All you have to do is be a kid. And if we have too many kids, we just go out and get another coach.”
One of those former little kids was the inimitable Allen Iverson, whose childhood nickname was Bubba Chuck, before he arrived at Georgetown and took the hoops world by storm as one of the game’s most revolutionary talents ever.
“I had Chuck since he was zero,” said Harper. “His family moved next door to me when his mother Ann was pregnant with him when she was 15. He started playing with us when he was nine, and from day one, he was fantastic. The lord has had his hands on that boy’s shoulder the whole entire time because he could’ve gone in a whole lot of different directions. Boo and I fought for him real hard, all the way through.”
When Iverson was pardoned by then Virginia Governor Douglass Wilder, after the unfortunate bowling alley brawl, where he was originally sentenced to 15 years in prison, after all of the other schools pulled their scholarship offers, it was Boo Williams and Butch Harper who took Ann Iverson to meet with Georgetown Head Coach, John Thompson.
Thompson took a chance on Iverson and convinced his school president to trust him in offering Iverson a scholarship.
“When Allen Iverson came on the scene, I got a call from Boo, who said, ‘H, I got one here, but I need your help. He’s a helluva player, just phenomenal, but I need some help with him,’” said White, the esteemed Brand Jordan executive who has also been a trusted personal advisor to Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Moses Malone and countless others over the years. “That was Boo saying, let’s help him move forward, let’s help him see something in himself.”
“I met Boo through Howard White, who played with me in college at Maryland and got to know him because of a young player named Allen Iverson,” said John Lucas, the former Terps All-American, 14-year NBA veteran and head coach of the San Antonio Spurs, Philadelphia 76’ers and Cleveland Cavaliers. “Seeing how Boo helped guide him through some difficulties, helping him get to a great place where he was going to get a great education academically, in basketball and in life, told me all I needed to know about Boo.”
“His connection with Boo, because of the respect he garners, because of his character and how unwavering he was in his support, helped Allen Iverson out tremendously,” said Harper.
When Iverson moved onto the Georgetown campus, it was Boo Williams and his wife who drove the young man to campus and helped him unpack in his dorm room.
When discussing Iverson, despite the gentle cadence of his voice, you can see Boo’s eyes start to boogie yet again.
“Allen hit the scene playing with us during the summer before his 10th grade year,” said Boo. “Before then, people thought he was strictly a football player. If he stayed with football, he could’ve been the next Deion Sanders. You couldn’t study what he did. It was just something that the good lord gave him. And he was a gamer, the kind of guy you wanted in the fox hole with you. He was either gonna get you through it or ya’ll both were gonna go down. But he was gonna go down fighting.”
“When we were helping him unpack at Georgetown, after all of the tribulations from the trial and him going to jail, thinking that this good kid, with of this talent, was going to be just another statistic, knowing that he was going to be mentored in college by the best thing for him in John Thompson, that was such a tremendous feeling, knowing that he was going to have a chance,” he stated with thick with sincerity.
That is the essence of Boo, giving kids, whether they are an Allen Iverson or the worst kid on the team, a chance at an education and a future.
THE ESSENCE OF BOO
To see that essence in action, you have to spend time with him down in Hampton. Most will assume that basketball consumes him. In a sense, it does. But the perception is incongruous with Boo’s reality.
Outside of sports, he’s a well respected member of Hampton’s civic community whose been running his own State Farm insurance business for over 24 years. If you step into that part of his world, you’ll find him sifting through stacks of documents, with his desk phone on one ear and his cell, a late-model flip phone, perpetually attached to the other.
He won’t even look at any basketball related e-mails during the business day, his focus solely on the auto, homeowner’s and life insurance policies that he is managing for old clients, or selling to new ones.
But there are reminders of why his name rings bells, in hoops circles, across the globe. While one wall is covered with plaques honoring his achievements in the world of insurance, the other three are plastered with photos of his former athletes, like Bryan Randall, the former Virginia Tech quarterback, former NFL running back Terry Kirby, current Orlando Magic marksman JJ Reddick and the Golden State Warriors Jarrett Jack.
There are innumerable framed, yellowing newspaper clippings of his exploits as a youth advocate, coach and mentor, with titles like, “Boo Williams, Showing Youth To Aim High In Life” or “Boo’s The Name, Basketball’s The Game.”
On a Tuesday afternoon in late October, he starts his day, wearing a starched white dress shirt, tie and slacks, with an early meeting with his business partners in the Sportsplex. From there, he stops into the State Farm office and makes some phone calls, before heading to a local bank to make some deposits. At this point, his tie is slightly skewed and the right bottom of his pressed shirt is hanging out of his pants.
“If you see Boo anywhere with that right side of his shirt out of his pants, that means he’s working,” said Harper. “And Boo is always working, he could give a damn what that shirt looks like.”
Driving from place to place, he smiles and laughs easily, talking about his philosophy on life. “You will never hear me say, ‘I can’t wait until Friday.’ I love each and every day. You have to take advantage of each and every one, especially today, because you will never get it back.”
He talks in short spurts, because his cell phone rings incessantly. It’s almost attached to his hand and ear like an extra appendage. Sometimes, while driving, with the phone at his ear, he will rest his other arm outside the driver’s side window. He either trusts the late-model, Lexus SUV to drive itself, or he’s steering with his knees.
He listens to ESPN in the car, where the sports radio talk centers on Auburn football coach Gene Chizik and the team’s woeful record this year. Boo places a quick call to his sister, Terri Williams-Florney, who is the women’s Head Basketball Coach at Auburn, and says, “Hey, that guy’s in trouble, your football coach.”
After meeting with officials from Hampton’s Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, a woman who is relatively new to the CVB offers to take him to lunch to further discuss and strategize how to work for the mutual benefit of one another.
She asks what he’d like to eat. When he lobs the question back and she says, “Whatever you want,” a rascally look returns to his face. He quickly responds with, “OK, we’re going to get some soul food,” smiling from ear to ear.
Walking through the parking lot outside of the Queens Way Soul Café, random people scream out, “Hey Boo!” When he walks into the restaurant, the waitress welcomes him with a Cheshire Cat smile, before merrily greeting him with, “Hi, Mr. Boo!”
Over a heaping plate of smothered turkey wings, rice and gravy, he talks with the CVB rep about weekend rental fees at his facility as they brainstorm about luring fencing, volleyball, boxing, sports memorabilia conventions and cheerleading competitions, among others to the Sportsplex.
He constantly reiterates that the goal is “Heads and Beds”, i.e., filling Hampton’s hotel rooms and restaurants.
With the stereo system in the café blasting R. Kelly’s song, “Love Letter”, despite the sparse late-lunch crowd, Boo momentarily turns his attention to the flat screen television, which is tuned to MSNBC.
The political drama prior to the November Presidential election is approaching its feverish crescendo as he glances back and forth, from the flickering images of President Obama and Mitt Romney, to the quickly disappearing food on his plate.
In the midst of discussing new revenue streams for the city and his eponymous complex, he unexpectedly shifts the course of the discussion.
“I watched the debate last night,” said Boo, wiping turkey gravy from the corners of his mouth. “I wonder if George Washington had to go through all of this. I should have watched the football game,” he chortled.
After lunch, he zips over to the Sportsplex for a brief meeting with his staff, where he crosses out items on a list of 14 things that need to be addressed immediately, such as cleaning the floors, criminal background checks for coaches, increasing the facilities social media presence, identifying a potential custodian, washing the windows, assisting visiting teams with hotel options, staffing a private event hosted by an Islamic group, reviewing the calendar of upcoming events and checking on the concession stand inventory, among other tasks.
As he quickly transitions from item to item, he stops for a minute, looks at one of his assistants and laughs through the following words, in his quiet, sensitive manner, “You look all confused.”
When he poses a question to another staffer that is not answered to his satisfaction, Boo tilts his head, smiles and says gently, “The more you talk, the more tricky this gets. I’ll put Boo in charge of this one.”
He’s heading to Portland, Oregon and Hawaii on business over the next few days and wants to make sure that nothing falls through the cracks. After the meeting, he drives out to Phoebus, the neighborhood he grew up in, for a quick visit with his mom.
The single level ranch-style, three-bedroom house on Taylor Avenue in Hampton looks much the same as it did when he was running in and out of the place for various practices and games as a kid.
His 77-year-old mom, attired in charcoal grey Georgetown Hoyas basketball sweats, acknowledges him with, “Hey Boo,” from her comfortable brown suede chair in the living room as she sits watching tennis star Maria Sharapova play a semi-final tournament match in Istanbul, Turkey.
Trophies dating back to the early ‘70s dominate the home décor. Just like her son, her phone rings constantly, and she abruptly ends each call with, “Call me later. I’m talking to this guy about Boo.”
“As a child, he was just like he is now, always easygoing,” said Patricia. “He’s not at all different today.”
She rises out of her chair, looking surprisingly spry and agile. When queried as to what her reaction was when she saw her son’s name atop the remarkable Boo Williams Sportsplex a few years ago, she shrugged her shoulders indifferently.
“I’m so used to seeing his name all over the place for so long now, that the first time I saw the complex with his name on it, I just said, ‘That’s Boo,” declared Patricia with a slight grin.
THE CONUNDRUM OF BOO
One of the conundrums of Boo Williams is figuring out when he sleeps. In addition to running his insurance business and overseeing the Sportsplex, which hosts athletic events year-round, he also coaches both the elite-level boys and girls summer basketball travel teams. As if that wasn’t enough, he also serves as the Chairperson for the AAU’s national boys’ and girls’ basketball organizations.
“I can’t think of a better person than Boo to be involved with youth and youth sports,” said Henry Forrest, AAU’s National President. “He’s such a nice guy, really soft-spoken but he’s really, really smart as well. People don’t realize, as much as he loves kids, how good of a businessman he is. He puts all of his time and energy into what he does, and what he does is fantastic.”
“When I came to work at the Daily Press in 1984, even though his program was in its infancy, it didn’t take me long to figure out that this was a man and a program that were community assets,” said Teel. “And it has simply mushroomed over the years. And I don’t think you can calculate his economic impact to the area. He has singlehandedly, with the help of some great staff, provided an economic boon to this community, and that’s evidenced by the city helping him to build that complex. If he, his program and the events he brings to town weren’t community assets, that building, which is a testament to what he’s meant to this community, wouldn’t be standing.”
Some may see the remarkable facility that bears his name, and assume that Boo is rolling in money. But that’s not why he got into the business of youth sports.
“So many people do this for the wrong reasons,” said Boo. “They’re not really there to help the kids. They’re there for the glory of winning, or for the money, or to jump to a bigger coaching job in college. If that’s why you do it, you’ll never be truly successful because at the end of the day, the kids can see through that.”
“And it should always be about the kids, they are the most important thing,” he continued. “I work a 9 to 5 job every day, so we still aren’t making any money on the facility,” Boo snickered. “This wasn’t built so I could make money. But we do enough to keep the doors open. And the economic impact we’ve had, from Hampton to Newport News, is amazing. We’ll have close to a half-million people walk through these doors in a year, which means the real impact is on the city, which can generate more tax revenue because people will shop, buy gas, eat and stay in the hotels. And indirectly, we’re helping the local economy to sustain and create jobs. Our impact is in the tens of millions of dollars every year.”
“I truly believe that the Sportsplex was one of the best things to ever happen to the Hampton area,” said Debbie Edwards, one of Boo’s support staff and a part of his administrative team that help him juggle so many balls at once. “You see so much excitement from the parents and the kids during our events here. Anything that helps keep them off the streets, I think is a wonderful thing.”
“Boo has given so much towards the development of those young men and women that he has helped to get into college, to further their education and pursue their dreams,” said Lucas. “He’s been an incredible mentor and counselor to families through this game. I have a lot of respect for Boo, because he’s a gatekeeper for doing what is right by kids through basketball and sports.”
“It was Ralph Waldo Emerson who said that ‘The greatest gift a person could give is a portion of themselves,’” said White. “That’s Boo! Most people are for themselves. That’s not Boo and it never has been. Aldous Huxley once said that the greatest thing a person can do to transform their lives is to be a little kinder. And that’s Boo as well! He’s one of the nicest, kindest people in the world. And he has transformed hundreds of lives.”
“I just think you have to leave a legacy,” said Boo. “You can’t take any money with you when you go because if you do, somebody’s gonna dig it up,” he says with his hearty yet gentle laugh. “You have to be able to leave something. When they ask me, ‘What did you do?’, I can be very comfortable with saying, ‘These are the things I have done.’ And you have to do it because it’s the right thing to do.”