Boo Williams has never strolled the Basketball Hall of Fame, never re-lived and absorbed the history of a game —Naismith’s peach baskets, Kareem’s sky hooks, Jordan’s aerial shows — that’s defined his life since childhood.
That changes Saturday morning.
Williams will get a red-carpet tour of the museum prior to the evening’s annual induction ceremony. A Hampton native and renowned youth basketball advocate, Williams, along with Hall of Famers Magic Johnson and Pat Summitt, is receiving the Mannie Jackson Basketball Human Spirit Award.
Williams will travel to Springfield, Mass., and the Hall with his wife and mother. His nephew Troy, a freshman forward at Indiana, and friends such as Nike executives Howard White and George Raveling — White and Williams grew up together — also will attend.
Last year Williams ventured to Springfield when the Hall inducted Nike founder Phil Knight and when Troy’s high school team, Oak Hill Academy, played there. But on neither occasion did he visit the Hall.
Among Saturday night’s inductees are former Virginia All-American Dawn Staley, now the coach at South Carolina, Louisville coach Rick Pitino, former UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian and North Carolina women’s coach Sylvia Hatchell, Gary Payton and Bernard King.
Williams starred at Phoebus High and Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and played professionally overseas. He started a Peninsula-based summer league in 1982 that has mushroomed into one of the nation’s largest and most successful.
A tireless volunteer for USA Basketball and the Amateur Athletic Union, Williams knows Summitt and Johnson well. To be honored with them, he said, "is humbling."
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