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Englewood, Chatham, Auburn Gresham

Police Team Will Hoop With Neighborhood Kids At South Side Basketball Tournament Saturday

The weekend's Hoop Hard Or Get Off the Court tournament at The Ark of St. Sabina will be the first time officers play at the event designed to unite community around kids and give young people a safe space.

Daniels helps a Hoop Hard Or Get Off The Cort youth during a basketball game.
Kristi Nishimura
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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.”

Credit: Provided
Larry Daniels (left) with Father Michael Pfleger (middle) and a CPD officer at a Hoop Hard Or Get Off The Court event.

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.

RELATED: “His ‘Hoop Hard’ Basketball Leagues Are A Hit In Englewood. Now, He’s Fundraising For A Community Center”

RELATED: “Basketball Tournament For MLK Day Let Kids, Parents From Across City Connect While Promoting Anti-Violence”

Credit: Mack Liederman/Block Club Chicago
“Hoop Hard” organizer Larry Daniels MC’s the show and announces every kid’s name with the Chicago Bulls “Sirius” intro playing behind him.

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