Ex-Wizards player casts positive spell

Published 6:08 pm Thursday, February 25, 2010

You need more than quick hands to make it in the world, formerHarlem Wizard basketball player Buffy Coleman told children atBrookhaven schools on Wednesday.

Coleman visited Brookhaven High School, Lipsey Middle School andBrookhaven Elementary School to show off his skills on the courtand to talk to the kids about life skills as well. He pep-talkedthem on everything from making good grades on state tests to sayingno to drugs to the Golden Rule. The presentations were sponsored bythe PTA and the Junior Auxiliary.

“To those of you that are popular and everyone likes you, I say toyou, be considerate of other people’s feelings,” he said. “When yousay negative things about a child, they carry it with them for therest of their lives. What if you weren’t so popular, or didn’t havethose name brand clothes, or weren’t big enough that you couldshove other kids around?”

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And to the children who are the targets of the bullying, Colemanalso had words of encouragement.

“Be tough, you can’t let other people bring you down,” he said.”Remember they did it to Jesus too. Be strong, be a leader, andremember that other students that get bullied, they’re afraid too.If you can say something for them, do it.”

Coleman, who went to Harlem Globetrotters training camp right outof high school and then played for the Harlem Wizards, realized hehad a talent and a platform for reaching out to children about 12years ago, he said.

“I started in a little town in Louisiana, and now I travel all overthe United States,” said the native of Heflin, La. “They say peoplefrom small towns won’t make it, but I always believed inmyself.”

That, he told the children, is the key to success.

“From this day forward, believe that you can do it. All successfulpeople, whether they’re athletes, politicians, TV personalities,musicians or rappers, they’re there because they believed inthemselves,” he said. “You have to know that you can do it.

Attitude is another important ingredient, Coleman said. Simplystaying positive can be the key to making it to the top.

“Some of you guys want to grow up and be Kobe Bryant, or LeBronJames, but some of you won’t be because you have a bad attitude,”he said. “You have to be a person of good character with a positiveoutlook on life.”

And avoiding drugs is another important choice that kids will makethroughout their lives, Coleman told the students.

“Just because you have friends that get involved in drugs doesn’tmean you have to do it too,” he said. “I had friends that solddrugs in high school, but I told the guys I have a dream. I wantedto come from a little bitty town in Louisiana and go see theworld.”

Just like basketball takes practice, building good character takespractice too, Coleman said.

“Nobody’s perfect,” he said. “I’ve hurt people just like everyoneelse. You have to practice being a better person. You have topractice at being a good sport, being submissive to authorities andbeing respectful.”

Finally, Coleman reminded the children who’s in control of theirlives.

“Nothing happens without God’s help,” he said.