He was a college star, an NBA player, then a federal prisoner. Now, he wants to help others


William Bedford speaks about falling prey to his own mistakes and finding hope in Manhood University.
Memphis Commercial Appeal

MEMPHIS — Two men, both in their 50s, sat five feet apart last week at a long conference table on the seventh floor of Memphis City Hall.

By appearance, the difference between them was striking.

One, Earl Wilson, 51, is mid-sized and stocky. His hair is a light gray, almost white. He spent two years in jail for aggravated assault and was released in late 2018.

The other man is tall, NBA-level tall, in fact. As the big man is about to speak, Wilson interjects.

“Wait, this ain’t? No,” Wilson asked. A half-smile of realization crossed his face. “Wait a minute. Did you say ‘Bedford’? And you said ‘William’?”

“Yeah,” the big man, William Bedford, 55, replied.

The men shook hands, punctuated by a snap of the fingers. 

Bedford, the University of Memphis…

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