CHICAGO -- Current and former NBA players with Chicago roots attended the annual Peace Basketball Tournament at St Sabina today.
The tournament’s effort to stop violence is taking on an added urgency this year amidst a spike in shootings and killings.
The parish gym, known as “The Ark,” was once again the setting for an annual basketball tournament that brings together different gang factions to help create peace and understanding across rival neighborhoods.
The game was attended by former U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, film director Spike Lee, Milwaukee Bucks star Jabarri Parker and retired NBA greats Isiah Thomas and Mark Agguire. Thomas and Agguire were childhood friends who both grew up on Chicago’s West Side and both ended up playing for the NBA champions Detroit Pistons in the 1980s.
Thomas says the city’s staggering spike in violence is a grave concern.
“We’re concerned about what’s happening in your communities and all the communities across the United States,” Thomas said. “If I could leave one message for all of you, my message would be to all of you, just love your brother.”
Each player signed a pledge of peace saying they would work to end violence in their communities. The goal of the game is to take the spirit of brotherhood from the court out into the neighborhoods.