North Carolina Central Basketball Coach LeVelle Moton Says He’s “Blessed And Fortunate” To Have Neighborhood Park Named In His Honor

(Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

North Carolina Central men’s basketball coach LeVelle Moton is a local legend in and around the Raleigh/Durham area of North Carolina.

Having grown up in Raleigh, where he attended high school and played for legendary Frank Williams, Moton was one of the best players in the state before going on to star for the NCCU Eagles, where he scored 1,714 career points. 

His game was so effortlessly jaw-dropping that he earned the nickname “Poetry In” Moton.

Moton’s rise from the project housing of Raleigh to basketball star to distinguished basketball coach of NCCU, is definitely a cultural gem of the feel-good variety. 

Moton has become a philanthropist in his hometown, and surrounding areas, and for his efforts he recently had the park he grew up playing at named in his honor. Lane Street Park will now be called LeVelle Moton Park.

 

During the renaming ceremony at the park last Saturday, the elated and overwhelmed Moton, who says he was inspired by boxing icon Muhammad Ali, was grateful for his journey. 

“I’m fortunate and blessed enough to accomplish a lot of things in life. But I always come back here. Because this, as you know, the more you accomplish it becomes more Hollywood and you know that’s not who I truly am. You know, I do what I gotta do but this is truly who I am. This is LeVelle”

Moton is never looking for accolades, and expressed that humility at a mural unveiling in December.

“I don’t like looking at my face anyway, like it’s weird,” Moton said. 

 

Moton Is Deserving Of All Accolades

Success hasn’t clouded Moton’s sensibilities. He hasn’t forgotten where he came from and what made him. The four-team MEAC champion coach has invested in numerous ventures, including housing. He also started the Velle Cares Foundation which is his initiative to serve and assist community-based organizations which promote health, education and life skills for children and families from impoverished communities.

Moton Is A Great Coach Who Has Longest Contract In Division I History

Moton has led NCCU to its greatest stretch of winning since it joined the D-1 level. His four MEAC titles speak volumes as to where the program is compared to when assumed the reigns. While many expected Moton to use that success to continue to climb the coaching ranks, he hasn’t, which is a sign to his players and the program. For years now, the chatter out of Durham, North Carolina has been the inevitability of Moton taking a bigger job.

In a 2020 interview with USA Today, former player Jordan Parks offered some insight about where Moton’s personal passions tilt. 

“We thought he was going to leave, possibly going into my senior year because we came off such a great year and he showcased himself and was a hot commodity. He’s a phenomenal coach. But it’s hard to say because he has a strong bond with the university being an ex-player (at NCCU), being from Raleigh and doing all the things he’s done. He wants to do culture-shifting things. He’d love to take NCCU and break the stigma of being just an HBCU basketball program.”

Moton’s contract, which runs through 2030-31, is the longest deal of all 358 Division I coaches. While he only rakes in $325,000 plus bonuses, Moton is home, doing what he loves. Eventually, someone will come with a bag too lucrative for sentiment and emotional attachments to overcome, but for now, Moton can’t put a price tag on peace of mind. 

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.