- Strong quake hits Japan, triggering tsunami
- Sniper heaven: Pentagon’s self-guided bullets leave enemies nowhere to hide
- Violent gang taking advantage of immigration crisis, using border as recruiting hub
- Medicaid enrollment continues to soar under Obamacare, administration says
- Michelle Obama to Latinos: ‘We cannot afford to wait on Congress’ for immigration
- White House urges GOP to act ‘urgently’ on $3.7 billion request for illegal immigrants
- Politicians, criminals using ‘right-to-be-forgotten’ law EU courts forced upon Google
- Combat fatigue: elite special forces troops are ‘fraying,’ Gen. Joseph Votel warns
- German foreign minister to meet Kerry to discuss spying claims
- Florida police spokesman tells citizens: ‘Get yourself some firearms’
Chicago hoping basketball provides haven for kids
Question of the Day
“Through basketball and just sports, we believe that if the people really get to know each other, particularly young people, they’ll have a hard time killing each other,” Thomas said. “Sports play has been taken out of the community, in terms of the park district, and what we want to do is just open up the park districts again and make them available.”
The 10 sites were selected based on high crime levels, low median income and the facility itself. The park district is hoping each location will field at least eight teams of 10 for each of four sessions during the year.
U.S. cities have used sports to help fight gang violence for years. But there is still something hopeful about this program that potentially could take thousands of kids off the streets and put them in a gym for a couple nights each weekend.
“It doesn’t so much curb youth violence as it gives good kids a place to go,” Emanuel said.
You play the ball to the wall in the tiny gym at Kennicott Park, so pay no attention to the lines on the floor. It seems as if the white ceiling with intermittent light panels just clears the baskets on each side, so be careful on long shots. And it’s going to be another week until the jerseys arrive, so take a good long look at your teammates so you know where to throw the ball.
There is a faded NBA sign in the corner and a painted Bulls logo in the middle of the court, a quiet reminder of all the great players who learned how to play in these same poor neighborhoods.
Things pick up when Javon Reynolds and Xavier Robinson hit the court.
First, Robinson, 17, sweeps in and dunks a missed 3-pointer, drawing wide grins and chuckles from the players lining one side of the court. Then the 18-year-old Reynolds, wearing a black T-shirt that reads “IT’S GOOD TO BE THE KING,” thunders down the middle on the other end and throws down a ferocious right-handed jam, sending the boys on the side into even more of a tizzy.
They use a running clock for the Windy City games, so the duel between Robinson and Reynolds ends almost as quickly as it started. But the friends and former King teammates are grateful for the few plays to add to their collection.
“It’s an honor, just to get us black kids off the street, you know, stop killing each other, and just a way to just hang out, play,” Reynolds said.
This is how it’s always been on the courts of Chicago: The kids watch, then they grow and become stronger. They take their lumps for a while, then start running the games themselves.
Some turn into household names.
Hall of Famers like George Mikan and Thomas. Maurice Cheeks. Mark Aguirre. Tim Hardaway. Today (Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose and Anthony Davis) and tomorrow (Jabari Parker and Jahlil Okafor).
By Robert N. Tracci
Congress must use its appropriations power to secure the border
- Violent gang MS-13 taking advantage of immigration crisis, using border as recruiting hub
- Pentagon's self-guided bullets leave enemies nowhere to hide
- Michelle Obama to Latinos: 'We cannot afford to wait on Congress' for immigration
- A 'new Cold War': China's top paper warns of 'slippery slope' towards conflict with U.S.
- Armed militia sets up Texas command center to 'fight for national sovereignty'
- DOJ investigates Norfolk parade float critical of Obama
- PRUDEN: 'Dirty Harry' Reids increasing eccentricity
- 'Be a leader' Perry tells Obama to confront border crisis
- Eric Holder on Palin: 'She wasn't a particularly good vice presidential candidate'
- Hometown paper to Harry Reid: 'Quit the race-baiting already'
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq
World Cup's sexiest WAGs