Rival gangs play hoops for peace on Chicago's South Side
CHICAGO – Basketball brought several rival gangs together Saturday at Chicago’s historic Saint Sabina Church. The ‘Peace’ tournament was organized by priest and activist Father Michael Pfleger and NBA Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas.
“You walk in that gym and you see the passion, the excitement, you see the smiles on kids [faces],” Fr. Pfleger told Chicago’s WMAQ-TV. “You see kids who used to shoot each other playing ball with each other…you see Joakim [Noah] and [Derrick Rose]…you tell me anything’s wrong about this? I’m in heaven right now.”
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In addition to some of the Bulls’ star players, other famous ball players in attendance included Antoine Walker, Quentin Richardson and Taj Gibson. Isiah Thomas, who grew up on the West Side of the city, said the tournament can essentially be a wake-up call for many young men.
“These kids know that they’re valued, they know that we love them,” Thomas told WMAQ. “And we’re hoping that out of this [tournament], there can be some type of peace where they stop killing each other and really understand how important they are to all of us.”
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