NBA baller Maurice “Mo” Williams (@mowilliams), 30, returned to his hometown, Jackson, Mississippi, to host his foundation’s annual basketball camp. The camp began on July 24th and ends tomorrow at Jackson Academy.
We were able to sit with Williams to talk about his inspiration for the camp and how it makes him feel to work with the young athletes.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: Before we start talking about the camp, can you tell me a little about your foundation and what inspired you to start it?
Mo Williams: Really just the need for an athlete in our area to be the face of helping the youth.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: I’m also a Murrah Mustang, I know you attended Murrah for high school. What’s it like to come home and give back and teach kids the fundamentals of basketball:
MW: It’s always great, you know. It’s something that I love to do. I love to play basketball so the opportunity to teach someone else something that they can build upon gives me a good feeling.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: As a child did you attend any programs like this?
MW: Actually that’s one of the reasons I do it is because I didn’t. Now I have the opportunity to give back to the kids in such a way that I didn’t experience when I was young.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: On average, how many kids attend the camp each year?
MW: Ah man, we’ve had years when we’ve been up to 300, 400 kids and on an average we have about 100-150 kids.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: Aside from basketball, what other programs or activities does your foundation participate in?
MW: We have a golf tournament, we’ve had years where we had galas to raise money, we do turkey drives during Thanksgiving, Christmas giveaways and things like that. We also do our fair share of donations throughout the year to organizations. We’ve donated to the Boys & Girls Club, the YMCA, Mission First, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the MBA Athletic Association. We helped finish a park in Jackson, we’re just trying to help out.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: What impact do you hope to make with these children?
MW: I just hope to give them an option. That’s all I’m doing is just giving them an option.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: And I know it feels good for them to have someone who plays basketball professionally to work with them.
MW: Well, yeah it does. That’s one thing I’ve grown to understand. It does mean a lot to them and that’s why I’m around.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: Ok, one last question! We know you’re a free agent and you have several teams interested in you, do you have a pick of where you would like to go?
MW: I’m hoping something comes about. You know I’ve got some options…hopefully close to home. Hopefully somewhere close to home like Memphis or something like that, that works out.
Williams has been a double-digit scorer in every season since his rookie year and in his years spent with the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2008-2011 produced some of his best individual seasons. HoopsWorld.com reports that the Miami Heat may go after Williams so we’ll have to wait and see what happens.
For more information on The Mo Williams Foundation, visit www.mowilliams.org.