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spreadeagle
09-23-2012, 03:53 PM
In August, 10 people were shot overnight. In one night. In September, there were eleven homicides in five days. The murder rate always goes up in the summer, in an unfathomably, heartrendingly simple example of how simply our worst instincts can be expressed. Much of the violence this summer has been attached to gang violence, or, an emerging term, “clique” violence, according to NPR. I can’t pretend to understand the socioeconomic conflicts that constitute what is going on in inner city Chicago, but I do know some people, including several with NBA ties, are trying to help.

Steve Aschburner of NBA.com reported from the Peace Basketball Tournament, an effort to bring awareness and open lines of communication to try and stop the violence. And at the center of the event was a familiar face:

Last month, (Isiah) Thomas marched with Father Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina to raise awareness about gang violence and Chicago’s soaring murder rate. This time, Thomas – along with Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, Quentin Richardson, Zach Randolph, the Chicago Bears’ J’Marcus Webb and others – was trying to bridge the gap between rivals with basketball, using the celebrity of the sports stars to deliver messages about, well, communicating.

“It’s a historical event where the gangs are coming together and they’re going to play a game involving peace, to stop the killing,” Thomas said. “Murder has run rampant in Chicago the last couple years, but gangs are calling a truce for this. By getting them to come together and play a sport, they might come to know each other. We believe it’s hard to kill someone if you get to know him.”

via Chicago Gangs Give Peace Hoops a Chance « NBA.com | Hang Time Blog.

The event centered around a basketball tournament that split teams by joining up members of rival gangs. Having those kind of players who not only are star athletes they can look up to, but who have a connection to the city and understand what goes on there. And as Pfleger said:

“These cats comin’ down tells these brothers, ‘We care about you. We love you,’ ” Pfleger said. “You see the reaction. People are so thrilled, so excited. This isn’t happening at the United Center. This is happening on 79th St. That’s the key.”

http://probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/09/23/nba-community-reaches-out-in-chicago-to-help-peace-efforts/

mrblisterdundee
09-23-2012, 04:02 PM
These huge sport stars need to use their celebrity more often to promote good social ideas. The trick is in making it about the good idea and not about the presence of the sports star.

smith&wesson
09-23-2012, 04:14 PM
It's nice of these athletes to take time and do something positive with their fame and celebrity .. This kinda stuff does need to happen more

Showtime Steve
09-23-2012, 04:18 PM
I mean its nice and all, but as soon as they leave...

mjt20mik
09-23-2012, 04:35 PM
I mean its nice and all, but as soon as they leave...

Sadly..

I thought Toronto was bad this year, till I read CHI's stats. Really feel sorry for those kids in Englewood.

Showtime Steve
09-23-2012, 04:42 PM
I mean its nice and all, but as soon as they leave...

Sadly..

I thought Toronto was bad this year, till I read CHI's stats. Really feel sorry for those kids in Englewood.

Yea man. I live in la so its nothing new but its still sad to hear.