CHICAGO — It was the best of the best of neighborhoods across Chicago as 400 kids battled it out in the 12th annual 'Hoops in the Hood' Cross-City Showdown Thursday.
"This is much more than just basketball for the City of Chicago," mentor Benjamin Estrada said.
This is the first year Chicago shut down a major street downtown to showcase the big tournament, closing Balbo Drive between Columbus and Lake Shore Drive.
For more than a decade, community organizations across Chicago united on the court, using the tournament as another way to empower residents to reclaim their streets and promote peace. Each year, hundreds of young athletes ages 8-19 play throughout the summer. Then on Thursday, up to 53 teams faced off in the big tournament, in hopes of taking home the bragging rights of being the "city's best."
Organizers say they know a game alone can't change the landscape of a city but it can be a game changer for the kids stepping up to the line.