ONLY ON 3: Road back from heart surgery brings Celtics’ Wilcox home


WHITEVILLE, NC (WWAY) — From a state champion at Whiteville High, to a national champion at Maryland, and now a NBA standout. Chris Wilcox has done it all, but he says one of the biggest challenges of his career was returning after his most recent surgery.

Wilcox is back in Columbus County this week for his annual basketball camp, but this year there’s a special set of circumstances surrounding it. He’s just signed a new deal after a major heart surgery.

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“I got a chance to go back and see a couple of the playoff games coming through it, so that was motivation for me to get back,” Wilcox said. “I knew that once everybody said that I wasn’t going to come back, I knew there was a way I was going to get back.”

In late March the Whiteville native underwent open heart surgery to repair an expanded aortic valve. Overcoming the odds, Wilcox has made a quick recovery. Now he will continue his career in the NBA after re-signing with the Boston Celtics.

“I’ve got to go back and finish my physical and stuff like that to make the deal official, so I’ll be up there on Wednesday, and I’ll be back the rest of the week for the camp,” he said.

One of the stops on his road to recovery is Whiteville, where he won a state championship and continues to put on his annual youth basketball camp.

For wilcox, home is where the heart is.

“Every year I come back and look forward to giving back to the community, and you definitely see it in these kids, because you get to see them one year, and then the next year they’re totally different,” Wilcox said. “It’s a great feeling, and it’s just great to be back around.”

The week-long basketball camp involves more than 200 kids. It is held at three different locations in Whiteville.

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