By Matt Vines
In a sea of children, it’s not hard to pick out Boston Celtics forward Robert Williams III.
The lanky 6-foot-9 man reached his hand down as far as he could, and the smallest of the nearly 100 basketball campers still had to jump to give Williams a high five.
Williams hosted his Robert Williams Basketball Camp at LSUS on Monday with the help of Caddo Parish Parks and Recreation.
Williams’ godfather Rickey Evans helped organize the camp, something Williams said he’s doing to put positive energy back into the community.
“Seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces and giving the youth something positive to do,” Williams said when asked why he’s putting on the camp. “We’re taking the negative energy and turning it into something positive.
“I want to get guys in here who helped me make it, like my godfather Rickey Evans. He had a good formula, and he’s in here getting him to deliver life messages to these kids.”
Williams completed his fifth NBA season with the Boston Celtics, averaging eight points and eight rebounds per game one year after nearly totaling a double double per game.
The Celtics have reached the Eastern Conference Finals in each of the past four seasons, including an NBA Finals trip in 2022 where Williams played a key role.
Williams is part of an impressive group of professional athletes from Northwest Louisiana, joining NFL standouts like Devin White and Dak Prescott in putting on camps for the community.
“This is a start,” Williams said. “The football takeover camp was a start.
“I saw they took those kids to Surge, so all of these things are a start. It’s not hard to believe that there are this many professional athletes from (northwest Louisiana) – I grew up with some of them. A lot of people put things in position to where we can showcase our talent and do great things, and now it’s our turn to shine the light on the community and the people that have talent in Shreveport and the surrounding areas.
He’s developed into one of the league’s best shot blockers, ranking third second seasons ago (2.2 blocks per game) and averaged 1.4 blocks per game this season.
The Oil City native led North Caddo High to two LHSAA basketball state tournaments before playing at Texas A&M, where he was named Co-SEC Defensive Player of the Year as a sophomore.
“There were a couple of kids from my neck of the woods (northern Caddo Parish), some that I hadn’t seen since they were babies,” Williams said. “There’s been a couple of kids that have surprised me from Vivian and Shreveport.
“It’s always emotional seeing the support here, to know that I have a fanbase in places other than Boston. More people down here know me and look up to me, so I want to do something positive for them.”