Tyrone "Hollywood" Brown, a former basketball player with the famed Harlem Globetrotters, recognized around the world as great ambassadors of the United States, visited four schools in McDuffie County last week.
Those schools included J.A. Maxwell Elementary, R.L. Norris Elementary, Thomson Elementary and Dearing Elementary. Combined, he addressed nearly 2,000 students over a two-day period.
Brown, who played with the Globetrotters for 11 years before becoming an educational speaker around the country, taught moral values, such as honesty, the importance of telling the truth, etc. when he spoke to local youngsters. He actually played with the Globetrotters from 1985 until 1996. He began his current role as an educational speaker in 1997 and has been going at it since.
At J.A. Maxwell and Thomson Elementary, Brown, a native of Savannah, introduced his friend, "Mr. Wilson," which was actually a red, white and blue basketball. Brown kept his audience attentive by talking with his so-called friend. Each time he wanted to convey an important message to youngsters, he would talk with his ball -- sometimes holding the ball close to an ear, as he pretended that Mr. Wilson was relaying important values for him to instill into those he spoke to at the schools.
"Mr. Wilson is my magical friend," he told students.
He strongly believes in what he is doing and thinks it's making a difference in the lives of thousands of children across the country.
"I enjoy going around the country and talking with school-aged children," said Brown during an interview with The McDuffie Mirror .
"I visit about 250 schools throughout the United States every year. This is something I've been doing for ever since I stopped playing basketball on a regular basis with the Globetrotters."
One of the first students he met at J.A. Maxwell Elementary was 7-year-old Darrick Brown, Jr., a first grader.
The elder Brown, no relation to the student, taught the youngster how to spin a basketball on his finger. After demonstrating it a couple of times, the youngster caught right on.
Brown said he feels it is vitally important to talk with youngsters and to let them know that life is about decisions.
"I want youngsters to make good, sound decisions in their lives," said Brown.