Ratliff a role model to Demopolis

Published 1:23 am Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The name Theo Ratliff is well-known in this area. A native of Demopolis, he played four seasons at Wyoming, where he finished his four-year collegiate career ranked 11th on the NCAA’s all-time blocked shots list. He is currently ranked 18th in the NBA with more than 1,900 career blocked shots.

However, there is more to Theo Ratliff than basketball statistics and the spotlight of NBA play. Ratliff continues to give back to the community through his resources, his insight and his desire to see kids going through the same life he had succeed.

This week, Theo Ratliff is home.

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Today and Thursday, he will be working with the Theo Ratliff boys’ and girls’ basketball camps at the Theo Ratliff Activity Center, a community center he helped fund three years ago.

“It hosts several programs for the kids,” he said. “Every time I go by there and I see kids enjoying themselves and adults enjoying themselves, people come up to me and say how great it is to have a place they can go to and have fun.”

The Theo Ratliff Activity Center has expanded to include more computer classrooms and other areas to help with academics. There will be a ceremony for the new expansion on Thursday at 3 p.m.

Ratliff has come home to help with his basketball camp for several years, and it’s something he looks forward to when the off-season approaches.

“It has grown and grown, especially with the Center here now,” he said. “We use three, sometimes four gyms for the kids, with different ages and different sizes. We teach them the basics and have good, competitive basketball.

“It’s a great feeling. I get some of my classmates who want to come in and be a part of it. We want to continue to grow this and bring in successful people who can continue to give the kids hope and let them know the different things that are ‘out there’ that’s going in life, things they can strive to be.”

Ratliff also works with the Theo Ratliff Foundation, an organization that sponsors different events for students to have music programs and other scholastic programs. He also sponsors 10 scholarships each year to local students through the Philadelphia Foundation.

Ratliff also works with the Sickle Cell Foundation in Atlanta, helping with fund-raisers for the organization.

Theo Ratliff is an athletic role model, taking his defensive talents to the top of his profession, but he also serves as a role model in life as well, giving back to his commun