BOSTON (WHDH) – The “Scoops & Hoops” community basketball tournament returned to Mattapan Saturday and featured more than 2,000 people taking part in a day of fun and raising awareness for the non-profit, Youth in Crisis.
People from across the city came out for the 21st annual tournament at the Ryan Playground, featuring 20 teams taking to the court, all aimed at bringing Boston’s youth together.
“It makes me feel tremendous, like it just brings a joy and light to my heart,” said Greg “Smooth” Simpson, one of the event’s organizers.
Anthony “Big Time” Robinson Seymour and his partner, Pam, started the event more than two decades ago. Seymour told 7NEWS its focus: keeping Boston kids away from violence and showing them there is another road.
“21 years ago, a kid came up and he wanted to play basketball,” he said. “Everything is about outcome – the outcome of this story is he had a gun on his waist. He gave the gun to play basketball and eat food. I’ll never forget that.”
Saturday’s festivities featured free food for everyone, face painting and train rides, along with vendors providing educational materials for residents on free resources available to them and their children.
When asked how it felt to be playing in a tournament that raised money for a cause like Youth in Crisis, local Traevon Jones said it was a great opportunity and not a bad way to spend a Saturday.
“It’s beautiful, putting in time for the community, it’s just fun,” Jones told 7NEWS. “Just doing something for the kids, doing something for the culture, everybody, just keeping it fun on a hot day.”
The event also did not just connect youth with different parts of the city, but local leaders, police officers and more.
“For us to come out here and for them to know that we’re here and we use the power of our badge to (not just) create change but to improve their life and create opportunities, I say I’m the same as a teacher and a coach I just happen to wear a uniform,” Police Superintendent Nora Baston said. “And I think the kids know that by us showing up time after time.”
Governor Charlie Baker and former Celtics player Dana Barros also stopped by to show support at the community-building event.
“I think its a great opportunity for everyone to come together, especially in these times, just have some positive energy around,” said Barros.
“It makes a huge difference for kids, and given all the stuff that kids have gone through over the past few years, this program, I’ve heard it over and over again, from a lot of our community partners, it’s been a God send,” Baker said.
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