02 Dec 14
William Bedford Rumors
Bedford, 48, is among the Memphis basketball legends who will be introduced as part of the school’s Memphis Madness celebration. It should be a memorable evening. Hardaway will be there, and Elliot Perry, and Andre Turner, and you know the familiar names. And then there is Bedford, the prodigal Tiger, who promises his nerves won’t keep him away. “I want to make a new start,” he says. “We all make mistakes in life.”
Bedford had never driven on Highway 385 until recently. “I have to learn new roads,” he says. “A lot of stuff in Memphis is new.” He is still imposing, still larger than life. But how do you reintroduce yourself to a city you haven’t been a part for more than 25 years? And what do you say to a fan base that knows you have spent most of the last decade in prison? “It’s been a long time since I’ve been in an arena, on the floor and been the center of attention,” says Bedford.
Washburn doesn’t want to be the only troubled player from the 1986 draft trying to help others avoid a similar pitfalls. He visits Bedford about once a month at the Federal Correctional Institute in Seagoville, Texas, just outside Dallas. Bedford was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2003 for transporting 25 pounds of marijuana in Michigan, although he expects to be released later this year. “I see what I went through and then I see William in the penitentiary,’’ Washburn said. “When I see him, I try to encourage him. He gets out in November… He wants me to help him set up some speeches where he can go around and talk to high school and college kids and help them.’’