Bobby Madison Basketball Camp marks successful 11th year

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

COLUMBIANA – Up until midnight with his wife on Sunday night, April 27, he couldn’t help but be overcome with joy at the thought of what was to come the next morning.

Bobby Madison and his wife Courtney put the finishing touches on the 11th annual Bobby Madison Basketball Camp and went to bed for a few hours before jolting up as the sun rose to head to Shelby County High School.

Awaiting Madison was a group of 95 kids ready to enjoy one of Shelby County’s most popular basketball camps.

“Seeing the excitement on their faces, I couldn’t help but smile right away and throughout the day,” Madison said. “Just to be back in the gym after what we’ve gone through with COVID and all that. Just seeing the kids back in the gym playing basketball, it was special.”

He was so overcome with joy to see all the shining faces in attendance after being forced to cancel last year’s camp that he became even more hands on with teaching this year.

“I was running around like I was 19 again, and I definitely realized I’m not,” Madison said. “When I got home I was feeling it. But it was such a joy. We’ve been locked up in the house for so long, so just to be able to have the outlet to teach these kids about basketball and resiliency, it was great.”

In its 11th year, the camp has grown each summer thanks to not only Madison’s presence in the community but the strong list of other coaches as well as current and former players that he attracts.

His mom even helps out and becomes the camp mom at the event, giving kids Band-Aids when they need them or just some uplifting support.

Madison’s brother Tyler, who played at UAB, Shelby County head basketball coach Cedric Drake, Jason Rudakas from Chelsea, Lamus McCombs and Sasha Lilly Knighten are just a few of the others who help with the camp.

They all come together to help the campers in attendance learn the fundamentals of the game, but more importantly, learn the lessons of teamwork and hard work because of what those aspects of the sport will do for them beyond the court.

“That’s what it’s about. Basketball teaches us about teamwork, hard work and life,” Madison said. “I was blessed with the opportunity to travel the world and play this sport. Being from this small town, I never imagined seeing some of the places I’ve seen. So for me, to see the excitement and joy and know I could be impacting their lives to aspire to do something similar means the world. I get more out of it than they do by seeing their joy. This camp is about people coming together to give the kids the best opportunity.”

Madison said one of the most special parts of the camp is seeing some of the kids who have gone through it in the past go on to play in high school and college, and even some taking what they’ve learned into their jobs.

“It means a lot to see what has happened the last 11 years,” he said. “Being from a small town like this, we all know that we rally around each other. Every year it has grown, and there has been such great community involvement. To see the kids that came through the camp and have success not only in basketball, but in college and getting a job, that’s what keeps me going.”

Madison said his main goal of the camp is to teach the campers about having a positive attitude and exhibiting teamwork because of what those two qualities mean in life more than just on the basketball court.

In life, he said applying what you learn, being held accountable and working as a team are the three keys to being successful.

“I want the kids to know anything is possible,” Madison said. “No matter what, if you work hard and apply your mind and heart to it, you can do it. Always put God first no matter what you do.”