Part of a series on nine local athletes being inducted into the African American Legacy Project’s Sports Legends Hall of Fame.
William Buford has always lived in the moment. He doesn’t think about what could be or what he could have been.
Mr. Buford knows he’s blessed for what he has.
On Saturday, Mr. Buford will be inducted with eight other local athletes into the African American Legacy Project’s Sports Legends Hall of Fame. The ceremony, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 2 p.m. at the African American Legacy, 1326 Collingwood Blvd.
With his induction, Mr. Buford, a Libbey High School graduate, will cement his spot as one of the best athletes to come out of Toledo.
“It’s just an honor to be up there with those guys,” Buford said over the phone about being inducted.
After his college career with Ohio State ended in 2012, Buford, 28, played overseas in Spain for a season. He then played in what was previously known as the NBA Developmental League, or D-League, for the Canton Charge, Santa Cruz Warriors, and Texas Legends.
If an opportunity presents itself to play in the NBA, Mr. Buford will take it, but he doesn’t want to play in the developmental league again.
For now, Mr. Buford is focused on playing overseas and caring for his wife and 16-month-old son.
He just finished playing with Goettingen, a German pro team, averaging 10.4 points per game and shooting 44 percent from the 3-point line.
“I’m still having fun with the game, but I’m doing what I have to do to take care of my family,” Mr. Buford said.
His family is looking forward to the induction ceremony. His parents, William Buford Sr. and Arnetta Buford, will be at the event, along with his grandparents, wife and son.
Mrs. Buford is excited to see her son inducted because she knows how hard he works. She says her son is living out his dream, something many people don’t get the chance to do. It’s a message she delivered to her son many times when he was growing up.
“The hardest thing in this world to do is to live a dream,” Mrs. Buford would tell her son.
The Sports Legends Hall of Fame is in its second year, and this is the first time an athlete from the 2000-2010 era will be honored. Leroy Bates, the co-chair on the Sports Legends Hall of Fame’s executive committee, was Mr. Buford’s coach at Libbey, so he is familiar with Mr. Buford’s list of accomplishments.
He ranks third on Ohio State’s all-time leading scoring list. He’s the second-leading scorer in Toledo City League history, right behind another ex-Buckeye star, Jim Jackson. He’s also the only former City League player to play in the McDonald’s High School All-American game as well as the Jordan Brand Classic.
Mr. Bates remembers Mr. Buford being a good leader at Libbey, sometimes speaking to the team if the coaches couldn’t get a message across.
“He was a great teammate and a great person to coach,” Mr. Bates said. “That’s what I really appreciate about William.”
Mr. Buford said he’s always been low key. He enjoys the accomplishments, but he’s also not content. He never wants to think that he’s too good or has nothing to work on.
Still, for right now, Mr. Buford has a comfortable life. In terms of whether going to the NBA is on the horizon, Mr. Buford is focused on what he has in the moment.
“It’s not just like NBA or nothing,” Mr. Buford said.