NORFOLK (WAVY) – From a simple “get-together” at Poplar Hall Park, Kam Chancellor’s Memorial Day cookout grew, and eventually moved to Lakewood Park. As Chancellor’s NFL career grew, so did the crowds at his cookout, until it blossomed into what is now known as “Bam Bam’s Spring Jam” at Town Point Park.
On Saturday, “Bam Bam’s Spring Jam” welcomed a number of NFL and NBA stars, as well as its biggest crowd yet.
“Every year I kind of got to expand a little bit, or add something new to it, but I’m enjoying it man,” said Chancellor, a graduate of Maury High School, who’s never forgotten where he comes from. The former Virginia Tech Hokie and now four-time Pro Bowl safety with the Seattle Seahawks provided free food, free entertainment, and message of love to his hometown.
“My whole point of doing this whole weekend is to connect, to meet one another, to meet somebody new,” said Chancellor, who’s also said he sometimes senses a disconnect within the community he comes from.
Buffalo Bills starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor, a graduate of Hampton High School, was one of the many stars to support Chancellor this weekend. He can remember the days when he and Chancellor had to pick up more food, because there wasn’t enough for the over-flowing crowds. “Each year has gotten bigger and bigger,” said Taylor. “Now, people are even donating food and donating plenty of other things for the community to come together and have a good time.”
Other stars that took time out of their busy offseasons were former Norfolk State and now-New York Knicks center Kyle O’Quinn, William & Mary grad and Chicago Bears cornerback B.W. Webb, Seahawks teammate and Pro Bowl defensive end Clint Avril, Bayside High School graduate and now quarterback for the Oakland Raiders E.J. Manuel, as well as Great Bridge and VCU grad Briante Weber, who’s now with the Charlotte Hornets.
“He loves to come out and show love to the community; the community that shows him love, that supports him,” said Antoine Bethea, graduate of Denbigh High School, and now safety for the Arizona Cardinals. “For the kids to be able to come out, touch and feel guys that have been in some of the situations that they’re in, it’s just a motivational thing for them.”
Just as theses super stars might motivate the next generation, it’s the next generation that still serves as a motivation and inspiration for Chancellor. “That’s the biggest thing; seeing all the kids out here,” he said. “Seeing them come out here and see their super heroes.”
For the evening, Kam’s “Bam Bam Spring Jam” moved over to the Ted Constant Center, where those same celebrities all played in Kam’s celebrity basketball game.