Long before he was playing under the bright lights in the NBA or the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague, Bonzie Colson got used to performing in the spotlight. During high school, Colson took part in a play or a musical every year along with several of his teammates.
"My high school coach, Coach Michael Hart, wanted us to not only be basketball players, but to be involved in different things. So, a lot of the basketball players who came through Saint Andrews School in Barrington, Rhode Island, we were in plays," Colson recalled.
He had a small role as a freshman in Aladdin, with future NBA Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams playing the lead role. As a sophomore, they performed Seussical the Musical. Colson really broke out in the role of Benny Southstreet in Guys and Dolls when he was in 11th grade and Sonny LaTierri in Grease as a senior.
"It was fun to dress up. I think I wore a black suit with a purple shirt and a hat. And I was wearing glasses. It was fun getting into character and doing something new," he said of his role as Benny Southstreet. "I remember when I did Grease, I was Sonny… He's a little bit of a smart ass, a little bit of a goofy guy; that's kind of who I am. I related to it, but I was really practicing a lot just because I didn't want to embarrass myself.
"It was a big event. I think we did Thursday to Sunday. so that opening night is important just to get that rhythm just like on the basketball court. It was fun."
For Colson, the theme of community came up often when talking about performing on stage, just like on a basketball court. By spending time each year performing, he made new friends and learned to work with people in different ways.