Britt was ‘superstar’ in many ways

Published 10:11 pm Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Those who were raised in the same environment, endured the same struggles and faced the same downfalls often make the best mentors for young people, and Suffolk’s Michael Britt was the ultimate example of that.

Britt, who died on Christmas Day, had vast experience with the world, both good and bad. He grew up on Wilson Street and established dominance on basketball courts across Suffolk. He went on to play for the University of the District of Columbia, where he scored a record 52 points in a game against Southeastern University in his freshman season. He went on to help his team to a championship in 1982 and was inducted into the college’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 2012.

He was drafted by the Washington Bullets and later played in a variety of overseas leagues after being cut by the Bullets.

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But it was in his more private life that he struggled and ultimately found the grace of God and his ministry to young people.

Britt began using crack cocaine and was arrested for possession and distribution in the early ‘90s. He spent most of the next 18 years in prison and finally got treatment at the Portsmouth Victory Gospel Chapel residential program.

Once he was clean, Britt never hesitated to share about how his life had changed, in hopes of helping younger people coming up avoid the same pitfalls. He held basketball clinics to bring in kids and inspire them, but the topics weren’t limited to basketball. He mentored hundreds of kids throughout the years, teaching the dangers of gangs, drugs and violence alongside the mechanics of ball handling, shooting and rebounding. He also shared the mentorship opportunity to others in his age bracket, making sure the kids had multiple mentors from whom to learn.

After struggling with drug addiction, it takes a special person not only to get clean but also to mentor young people and help them avoid the same bumps in the road. Britt was that person for many kids in Suffolk. His sister, Marcella Goodman, told News-Herald reporter Alex Perry last week that Britt was a “superstar,” and she didn’t just mean on the basketball court.

We thank him for his dedication to improving the lives of hundreds.