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Former NBA champ uses art to pay for student’s college tuition


Clark Atlanta University’s Men’s Basketball coach Darrell Walker hosts the 2nd Annual Darrell Walker Art and Basketball Auction on Tuesday, September 12. The event raises funds to offset the cost of summer school for student-athletes.

“Coach Walker raises money for us to graduate on time, so I repay him by working hard in my classes,” says point-guard A.J. Williams. “I took two hard economic classes this summer, and it was paid for with a scholarship from the art auction. It would have been really tough if I had to pay for it myself.”

Williams, who was raised by his single mother, transferred into CAU from a junior college in Brooklyn, NY. “I faced a lot of adversities in Brooklyn. Either you are on the streets, or you play basketball. It was a tough place to grow up, but I knew I couldn’t let my mother down,” says the business management major. “Coach Walker is tough on me because we play the same position. But I relate to him. He’s one of the best coaches I’ve ever played for,” adds the 22-year-old.

Walker, a former point guard with the New York Knicks and Chicago Bulls, and former head coach of the Toronto Raptors and Washington Wizards, recruited Williams in 2016. Coach Walker, in his first year with the Panthers, won the 2017 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) Men’s Basketball Tournament championship.

Along with his NBA success, Coach Walker has been an avid art collector since early in his NBA playing career. His collection includes more than 80 pieces. “I’m combining my two biggest passions to impact the lives of these young men,” says Coach Walker. “These aren’t just my players, they are my sons, and leveraging my status to launch their careers is the way I pay it forward.”

Williams, a senior, will graduate Spring 2018 thanks to Coach Walker’s efforts. “Coach believed in me, he trusted me and I thank God for him everyday.”

The 2nd Annual Darrell Walker Art and Basketball Auction will be held at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, September 12 in the Beauchamp Carr Gallery at the Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta.

Tickets can be purchased by clicking HERE.


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