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Coney Island celebrates the life of ‘Mr. Lou’

When basketball legend Stephon Marbury comes home to Coney Island, he’s sure to shed a tear at the corner of West 33rd Street and Mermaid Avenue in Coney Island, which is now also named “Robert ‘Mr. Lou’ Williams Way” in memory of his late mentor.

A human ribbon of mourners assembled at the intersection, near where Williams lived, worked and volunteered, to immortalize the beloved sports coach who had guided and molded hundreds of talented players throughout his three decades as a local trainer in and around the Mermaid Houses, 3116 Mermaid Avenue; among them, NBA stars Sebastian Telfair and Quincy Douby.

Williams, who passed away at his home at O’Dwyer Gardens, 2952 West 31st Street in 2007 at the age of 64, was recalled with glowing words and misty eyes during a poignant ceremony organized by Councilmember Domenic Recchia, who legislated for the co-naming through the City Council, and which distinguishes Williams as being the first African American to have a street named after him in Coney Island.

“He’d work out with him all the time,” Don Marbury, Stephon’s brother, told reporters, adding, “Without Mr. Lou, there is no Stephon.”

The installation was followed by a youth basketball game at Public School 288, 2950 West 25th Street, and a party at Footprints Cafe, 1521 Surf Avenue.

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