• 61°

Former basketball Wizard charms Linden students

Buffy Wilson was recruited by the Harlem Globetrotters in 1993, and despite a recurring injury, was able to play two years with another world-famous basketball entertainment team, the Harlem Wizards.

That career brought him to venues around the world and all across the United States. As far as being a basketball player goes, he was living the dream, using his talents to bring joy to millions.

After retiring from the Wizards, Wilson began his own company, The Buffy Coleman Basketball Show, through which he brings his fast-handed skills and motivational talks to people across the nation.

Wilson came to Linden on Tuesday to talk to students from George P. Austin Junior High School and Linden Elementary School, but the talk was not about basketball and his own achievements. He came to let the students know that they are all special people and should work hard to make their dreams come true.

“I travel all over the world, speaking to youth, social events, church events — any type of community event or gathering,” he said. “I came to Linden because of Mr. Joe Johnson (Linden City School System employee). He and I have known each other for many years, and he saw my promotional material and knew that I would be in the area, so he called me up, and here I am.”

Coleman — who will be 36 next month — lives in his hometown of Heflin, La., where his mother and two sisters still live. He and his wife, Sherrie, have two children: Buffate Jr. and Victoria.

The basketball tricks and stunts kept the students’ attention as he told them about keeping their dreams alive and doing the work to get where they wanted to go.

“My main theme is: It’s not where you’re from; it’s where you’re going,” he said. “I come from a rural town, and a lot of times, when you’re from a small town, you’re not exposed to a lot of the things that the kids from major cities are. I want the kids to know that they can dream big. It doesn’t matter that you’re from Linden, Alabama. It doesn’t matter that you’re from Demopolis. You can do and be anything you want to be. You know, great things come from small places, too.

“My other message is to try to make good choices. Say ‘No’ to drugs and stay away from the wrong crowd, the things that can influence you to make bad decisions. Most importantly, work hard in school. Make good grades. That is so important. So many kids are dropping out of school, and they don’t realize the value of education and how this is important.”