Boo Williams has always had a passion for two things: the community where he is from (Hampton) and sports. And in March of 2008, Williams’ two passions came together, with the groundbreaking of Boo Williams Sportsplex in Hampton.
“I had been running basketball summer leagues since 1982, and I wanted to help kids in this area get scholarships and have one place for them to come play in the 757,” Williams says. “It started off being a place for kids in Hampton and Newport News, and it grew to be for the whole Commonwealth of Virginia and beyond.”
Williams has a decorated past with sports. He played basketball, football and baseball at Phoebus High School in Hampton before moving on to play basketball at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, and then playing professional basketball abroad in Europe. While he no longer plays abroad, Williams’ heart has always remained in the game, as he is still dedicated to sports and helping young people find their own path with sports.
“The Boo Williams Sportsplex has eight courts; a mini track, with room to play sports like basketball, volleyball, indoor soccer, field hockey, lacrosse, track meets, gymnastics events; and we can even host small birthday parties or gatherings,” Williams says. The facility is the largest sportsplex between Washington, D.C., and Greensboro, North Carolina.
The 135,000-square-foot facility was made possible thanks not only to Williams’ team’s hard work, but the City of Hampton as well. “Yes, I’m from Hampton, and Hampton was a good fit for the sportsplex in several ways. The City of Hampton was interested in partnering with our team and we got set up with investors for the sportsplex,” Williams says. The facility cost $13.5 million dollars to build in the heart of Hampton.
The relationship which was formed between the Boo Williams Sportsplex and the City of Hampton has been beneficial for both parties since it opened. “The sportsplex has also had a good economic impact on Hampton, with people traveling to tournaments here and staying in hotels and dining. It really helps the Hampton economy,” Williams says.
Williams is no stranger to helping communities through his love of sports. In 2001, he earned the recognition as Disney Wide World Sports Volunteer of the Year as a result of his work with young athletes, many of them underprivileged. Williams loves being able to help kids grow and learn more about themselves and their abilities.
“The most rewarding part is giving the kids an opportunity to play against good competition to test their skills, no matter what sport it is. They get to play with the best competition in the country here,” Williams says.
Williams’ high school AAU basketball league, the Boo Williams Summer League now boasts more than 2,000 players as Williams recruits and coaches players from across the country to improve their skills. The league is sponsored by sports giant Nike and has helped shape some of the country’s best basketball stars who have gone on to play at the college and professional levels. Williams has even worked with basketball stars Allen Iverson and Alonzo Mourning.
When asked what he likes to do on his days off from basketball and working, Williams laughs. “My life is really surrounded by basketball, it’s my whole life, he says. “But when I am not doing that, I enjoy just relaxing and watching TV.”
Boo Williams Sportsplex
Address: 5 Armistead Pointe Pkwy., Hampton, VA 23666
Contact: Boo Williams