AUBURN GRESHAM — A South Side basketball tournament that long has brought local police to the community to cheer on young players now is inviting officers to take the court.
Larry Daniels is hosting one of his signature Hoop Hard Or Get Off the Court tournaments Saturday at The Ark of St. Sabina, 7800 S. Racine Ave.
The games start at 10 a.m. with girls teams from local elementary and high schools, as well a 1 p.m. game featuring the Chicago Police Department’s women’s basketball team.
It’s the first time cops will participate in the tournament, Daniels said.
“To have them go from watching to playing is showing that we’re bridging the gap,” Daniels said. “It sends a strong message to see the officers playing ball, that we’re moving in the right direction with the police and the community.”
Daniels MCs his tournaments, gives every player a trophy and does his best to make neighborhood kids feel like stars.
Hoop Hard events are a safe space for police and neighbors of all backgrounds to come together to support the kids, Daniels said.
Daniels launched a GoFundMe last year in hopes of opening a basketball facility dedicated to Hoop Hard events, which he believes can keep kids out of harm’s way. He’s raised $5,000 for the project thus far.
“It’s a touching thing when you can just get kids to come out and play the game of basketball,” Daniels told Block Club in January.
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