By Jennifer Coco
Basketball is the fourth largest sport at the 2022 National Senior Games presented by Humana with over 1,200 participating athletes. Each team and individual player brings their own unique story to The Games, weaving together a dynamic fabric of life experiences.
Wallace Lewis, founder of the Wazee Warriors basketball club, is one of these special people. Wallace formed Wazee Warriors with Elmer Gibson in 2011 in Raleigh, North Carolina. His efforts have seen growth as the Wazee club brought three teams to the National Senior Games this year in 50+, 55+, and 60+ age categories.
The athlete is no stranger to basketball, having played in college at Virginia Tech and professionally in Australia and Belgium. After retiring from the sport, he became an entrepreneur and opened a carpet business. But, that wasn’t enough.
“I started Wazee Basketball because I wanted to help others,” he says.
Wallace’s goal for Wazee Basketball is to give any African-American man – young or old – who is in a difficult place an opportunity to get their life back on track. He offers men jobs through his business, and the basketball club provides a place to develop positive relationships in the gym.
The name Wazee is inspired by the Swahili word for leaders and family, chosen by Wallace to spark interest in the club and embody what the sport means to him.
Wallace’s teammates say “he is an amazing man, the best you will ever meet.” The team’s respect for each other helped them win silver in the 55+ age group this year! Keep up the great work, Wazee Basketball.