Ratliff starstruck at own basketball camp

Published 11:02 am Tuesday, June 10, 2014


Denzel Robinson is shown with Theo Ratliff at this week’s basketball camp. Robinson presented Ratliff a plaque in honor of the Theo Ratliff Center becoming a member of Boys and Girls Club of America.

Most 16-year-old boys would be starstruck to meet an NBA All-Star.

But those roles got reversed Tuesday when Demopolis native and retired NBA center Theo Ratliff came home for his annual basketball camp.

Ratliff was surprised when Denzel Robinson presented him with a Boys and Girls Club charter for his namesake, the Theo Ratliff Center on First Avenue.

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In January 2013, then 14-year-old Robinson was hit by a drunk driver while riding his bicycle home from Demopolis High School.

The accident almost claimed his life. He faced a three month stay at Children’s of Alabama and months of physical therapy at Genesis Rehab.

Last June, Ratliff presented Robinson an award, along with a T-shirt and basketball, for the courage he had displayed through his recovery. The teen was still wheel chair-bound at the time.

But what a difference a year can make. Robinson, wearing a Theo Ratliff T-shirt, was able to walk unassisted to present his idol a plaque in recognition for the Boys and Girls Club charter.

“Good morning, everybody,” Robinson said. “I present this Boys and Girls Club of America [plaque] to Theo.”

The presentation drew a standing ovation from the other campers, coaches and parents in the crowd.

“God is good. To see this young man walking through the door and hand me this is very touching,” Ratliff said. “It shows what hard work, determination and believing in yourself can do and how you can achieve goals that others don’t think are possible.”

Ratliff’s two-day basketball camp will run Tuesday and Wednesday at the Theo Ratliff Center.


Ratliff talks with basketball campers.