Professional player holds basketball camp in Columbiana

Published 11:42 am Friday, June 18, 2010

Bobby Madison spent several months in Portugal during the past two years, but he had a mission to impact a community halfway around the world.

Madison, a professional basketball player who grew up in Columbiana and played at Shelby County High School, had his hometown on his mind as his professional season in Europe came to a close.

Madison returned home to Columbiana immediately after the season and began preparations for the first ever Bobby Madison All-Star Basketball Camp.

“He called me while he was in Portugal and told me he wanted to do it,” said his mother, Vera.

After a week of sharing his love for the game of basketball with 125 youngsters, Madison called the camp a success as he saw smiles on a lot of faces June 18 inside Charles Dickinson Gymnasium on the campus of Shelby County High School.

“It’s great to see these kids with all of their energy,” Madison said. “I feed off them. I’m having more fun than the kids this week. I’ve been wanting to do this for a couple of years.”

The camp, which was broken into two sessions, drew children from as far away as Tuscaloosa. Madison held a morning session for children ages 6-12 and had an afternoon session for children ages 13-17. The camp staff taught the children several basketball drills throughout the week.

The final day of camp featured games and free-throw shooting competitions.

Madison assembled a staff full of basketball experts to help instruct campers June 14-18. In addition to Madison, former Cornerstone Christian School boys’ coach Tim Bullard also volunteered to help with the camp. Two coaches with Division I experience, Corey White and former Shelby County girls’ basketball standout Sasha Lilly, also provided instruction.

The other camp instructors were former Calera girls’ basketball standout Shanavia Dowdell, who spent time in the Washington Mystics preseason camp this spring, and current Shelby County sophomore Tyler Madison — Bobby’s younger brother. Shelby County boys’ basketball coach Charles Dickinson also assisted with the camp instruction.

Madison’s older brother Kei, who is also a professional basketball player, just had his first child and is spending time with his family in Michigan.

Madison, who currently has contract offers from teams in France, Spain and Portugal for next season, said he felt obligated to give back to the Columbiana community.

“I feel it is my duty and responsibility,” said Madison. “I’m blessed to have this opportunity.”

Madison expects to report to his next destination in September. In the meantime, he plans to stay with family in Columbiana and work out with his younger brother.

“Give me a basketball and I’m good,” Madison said. “I’m going to work out with Tyler a lot and work out myself. I’m going to spend some time with family.”

The camp was sponsored by Columbiana Dental Clinic, Dr. Stancil Handley, H.O.P.E. Community Center, OPT, Wallace, Ellis, Fowler and Head, Wilson Body Paint, New Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church, Gregg Rushton, Alfa Insurance, Davis Drug, Piggly Wiggly, Brown Lumber and Rux Carter Insurance.