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Former Globetrotter brings anti-drug message to Central

posted Dec 6, 2017, 11:36 AM by Granger Meador   [ updated Dec 6, 2017, 11:36 AM ]

A former member of the Harlem Globetrotters, Valentino Willis, aka “Captain Magic,” entertained and spoke about anti-drug and alcohol awareness to students at Central Middle School on Friday.

The entire student body filled the school’s new gym on Friday morning. Mr. Willis showed off a couple of quick tricks with the basketball and ran around the gym high-fiving the students. He then let them know his purpose wasn’t to talk about basketball but to talk about staying away from drugs, cigarettes, and alcohol as well as respecting each other, teachers, principals, and parents.

His well-choreographed presentation was interactive. At times he would bring up a student and teach him/her a trick with the basketball while reiterating his message about respect and substance abuse. He also had some teachers go up to learn some of the tricks, naturally making it funny for the kids.

Initially drafted by the New Jersey Nets, Valentino played in the Eastern Professional Basketball League where he averaged 25 points per game. He conducts basketball clinics and participates in the Special Olympics. He has also appeared in several commercials and movies, including appearing with Michael Jackson and Diana Ross in the “The Wiz” and Ray Bolger in “For Heaven’s Sake”.

Central Middle School students and staff enjoyed his presentation. Valentino is quite the showman and comedian when it comes to entertaining this age group. He also went out of his way to involve the special needs students and took a moment to pose for pictures with the students from the multiple-disabilities class.    

Mr. Ariel Ortega, who is the school’s Assistant Principal, said, “We had students walk in the door Monday morning still repeating some of the things that Mr. Willis said on Friday about respecting principals. When they saw Principal Gardner and me at the door, they waved their hands up in the air and said, ‘respect principals’.”
Valentino Willis at Central
Valentino Willis interacted with Central Middle School students via basketball to deliver his anti drug message