By DAVID DUPONT
BG Independent News
Five years ago Antrone “Juice” Williams almost died on a basketball court in Maine. He was doing what he loved playing basketball. He was good enough to have played college hoops and semi-pro ball. And then in an instant he was down, just aware enough to know this may be the end.
It wasn’t. After he came out of an induced coma, Williams started the long road to recovery.
On Sunday Williams (formerly known as Moore) will be back on the court again. He’s not playing for fame or glory, but to help raise awareness about stroke disease and support his efforts to mentor young people.
Williams is hosting his second H.O.W. We Hoop! Celebrity Basketball Charitable Game Sunday, Oct. 1 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Bowling Green Community Center.
The game may be for fun, but Williams said that he expects School Superintendent Francis Scruci is intent on avenging a very serious beating by the team led by Williams.
Williams said he “scored a few buckets,” but his concern is people may have been going easy on him. He doesn’t want them to.
He’s proud that five years after nearly dying he’s able to “hobble” down the court, again playing the game he loves.
Sometimes people don’t understand the lasting toll a stroke can take, he said. He lost more than two million brain cells on the way to the hospital on the day he was stricken. His outward appearance can belie the damage that’s beneath the surface. Still he persists. “It’s all about how you perceive your strengths,” he said. “I want to be here ‘til the Lord calls me home.”
The donations collected at the door will go toward helping his charitable organization Team H.O.W. – Helping Others Win – file the paperwork to secure 503C tax exempt status. The organization supports Williams’ youth mentorship through basketball efforts. He’s particularly concerned, he said, about helping the children of single mothers.
“When I came back in this world I had a plan to help inspire kids,” he said.
Others joining him on the court will include educators, trainers, Parks and Rec employees and politicians.
State Sen. Randy Gardner, last year’s MVP, returns.
Others on the court will be for Team Scruci – Stacey Lucas, Jadon Nichols, Lexis Rogers, Kirk Cowen, Bryan Wiles, Kirk Cowen, Kirk Mass, and Kristin Otley, and for Team Juice – Williams, Damien Womack, Steve Cramer, Joe Kilpatrick, Hailey Mass, Theresa Gavarone, Posta Boy of Ball up, Eric Fletcher, and Ivan Kovacevic. Mayor Dick Edwards will be on the sidelines and Clint Corpe of WBGU-FM’s “The Morning Show” will be the announcer.
The event starts at 1 p.m. with youth basketball skills clinic. Register ahead of time at firstname.lastname@example.org. Then the youth participants will scrimmage at half-time of the celebrity game, which starts at 1:30 p.m. There’ll also be time for socializing and photographs with the players.
Williams’ book “A Walking Testimony Stroke Survivor: My Second Chance.” co-written with his cousin Damien Womack and other Team H.O.W. merchandise will be for sale.