Grant Williams Launches Virtual Mentoring Program During Celtics’ Hiatus


May 15, 2020

Grant Williams is giving back to Boston from afar.

The Boston Celtics forward started mentoring high school kids last month as a way of making a positive contribution to his new community, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. From his hometown of Charlotte, N.C, where he has been living with Celtics teammate Kemba Walker during the coronavirus shutdown, Williams uses Zoom to lead video-conference calls with six teenage boys from the Boston area.

Williams, 21, explained to The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears on Thursday why he decided to partner with the MENTOR organization, which connected him to the boys from the Boston-based Mass Mentoring Partnership.

“I really just loved mentorship as a whole,” Williams said. “I have seen guys around the league doing it. I saw Kemba doing it with Big Brothers Big Sisters in Charlotte. When we played in Charlotte, he had 10 to 12 kids in the stands that he had been talking to and had touched their lives growing up. I wanted to do a similar thing, but in Boston and other communities.”

Williams’ group first met April 15, and his presence initially drew surprise among the boys.

“Is that really Grant Williams?” one of them asked, per Spears.

“I remember that each kid was pretty nervous or not really able to speak,” Willaims said. “We had two (with the same-sounding name), so we had to figure out what we were going to call each one by nickname. We ended up calling one ‘Donut.’

“I had to stress to them the importance of being on time as well as being engaged, because some would just look around and not really pay much attention to the call or not have questions to ask. So, that first meeting kind of just established an identity for each kid.”

Having established a rapport, Williams’ virtual mentoring group has bonded during regular meetings, and they hope to extend their connection from the virtual to the in-real-life realm in the near future.

“We?ve been doing this for four weeks and have learned a lot about each other,” Williams said. “Guys are following each other on Instagram. Hopefully, we will connect as they progress through the years, because they?re only freshmen right now.”

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Thumbnail photo via Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports Images
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