‘Peace on the Streets’ tourney set for next month
Published: Jun 28, 2013
Under the theme “Bringing Hope to the Hopeless” this year, one of the more exciting basketball tournaments in the country is primed for four exciting days of action over at Kendal G.L. Isaacs National Gymnasium.
The 18th Annual Nelson Cooper “Peace on the Streets” Basketball Classic, featuring five divisions this year, is set for July 17-20. This year, the classic includes the 13-and-Under, the 16-and-Under, the 19-and-Under, the Church and the Open Divisions.
Minister Carlos Reid, the director of Youth Against Violence, said that they are delighted to be staging the tournament once again, and look forward to a record number of players and teams.
“We at the Hope Center and Youth Against Violence see the number of players who take part in this tournament, and we look at the impact that it would have on them. The opportunities that are afforded to them for them to further their education by being seen in this tournament are endless,” said Reid. “That keeps us motivated. Not only that, but when one goes on the streets and in the parks and see the ‘Peace on the Streets’ jerseys, that’s a good feeling. It is even happening in Freeport, which means it is becoming more of a national tournament and youngsters are benefitting from it.”
Once again, the main attraction will be the annual celebrity game featuring the pastors versus the politicians. The politicians have come up empty in three tries. Reid said that he has no doubt that the politicians will be coming out in full force in order to finally crack the win column, but he and the pastors aren’t prepared to take it easy on them and just give them a win.
“It got so bad where Minister Khaalis Rolle has said that his wife told him not to come home with the MVP (Most Valuable Player) trophy from the losing team again. I told him that the only way that he won’t be doing that is if he becomes a pastor overnight. We are coming to win. There is no doubt about that,” said Reid.
The pastors have won the popular game for the past three years but the politicians are saying that with a new generation of politicians this year, they are guaranteeing a win. According to reports, the pastors will be coached by Bishop Neil Ellis this year while the politicians will be coached by Prime Minister Perry Christie with Minister of National Security Bernard Nottage assisting. That highly anticipated game is expected to be the featured event on the final night of the classic, “Family Night”.
“This game will be dedicated to the late Charles Maynard, former Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture,” said Reid. “He was a good sports minister and he did a lot to assist us. We want to honor his courageous acts. One of the good things about this game is that it brings the politicians together. I remember Minister Maynard falling down one year, and Brave leaning over to pick him up, and that was right after they went at each other in the House of Assembly. That is the power of sports. It helps us to forget personality differences and cause us to unite as one for a common good.”
Also scheduled for “Family Night”, Saturday July 20, will be the championship games in all divisions, the Three-Point Shootout Contest and the Phil’s Food Services Slam Dunk Contest which has been feature on ESPN for the past two years. Action on ‘Family Night’ is expected to get underway at 5 p.m.
“This event continues to grow each year,” said Reid. “Last year’s Slam Dunk Champion ‘Worm’ out of Ft. Lauderdale will be back to defend his title. The winner will receive a 50-inch plasma television, the second place finisher will get a 42-inch television and the third place finisher will get a Samsung Galaxy S3, all courtesy of Phil’s Food Services.
“Also, we have a team coming from Freeport and for the first time, a team from Atlanta. We expect a number of our Bahamian college players home, and even some of our professional players. This event has become an elite basketball tournament here in The Bahamas. Our classic has become the most highly anticipated summer event in New Providence, and over the past several years, we have attracted some college coaches from the United States who come down with the hopes of offering scholarships to some of our young players.
“We will continue to provide positive alternatives and solutions to the youth of this nation. We refuse to sit on the sidelines and hope that the crime situation will get better because the reality is that it won’t get better until every law-abiding, and sensible citizen makes up his or her mind to become a part of the solution rather than a part of the problem.”
With the country already experiencing almost half of last year’s murder count, Reid said that the time is now for the country to come together and offer positive alternatives for the youth of this nation.
“Youth Against Violence is committed to doing its part to fight this scourge,” said Reid. “While we don’t want to magnify the problem, we also don’t want to minimize the fact that we are experiencing an epidemic as it relates to crime and violence.”
The ‘Peace on the Streets’ Basketball Classic was started in 1995 and was first named the National Park League Championships. The name was changed to the Nelson Cooper ‘Peace on the Streets’ Basketball Classic in 1996, after the late Nelson Cooper, who was originally the leader of a gang called the Border Boys. He gave his life to the Lord and went into the Mason’s Addition community to encourage other gang members to stop the violence. According to reports, he was shot the night he entered that same community and died a few weeks later.
“This basketball tournament is an effort to continue the work of Nelson Cooper and Youth Against Violence to help keep our youth off the streets,” said Reid.
Reid said that they would like to thank the many sponsors of the classic this year: the National Sports Authority, Phil’s Food Services, the Lyford Cay Club, Milo Butler & Sons, J.S. Johnson, the Royal Bank of Canada, Royal Star Assurance, Original Patties, JMEL, Sky Bahamas Airlines Ltd., BTC, Kelso Medical Laboratory, the Sports Center, Wong’s Rubber & Stamp Printing, Apex Awards Signs & Engraving, Thompson Trading, Bank of The Bahamas, Bahamas Food Services, Bahamasair, Bahamas First Insurance Co. Ltd., Prescription Parlour Pharmacy, Esso, Nassau Motor Company, Vitamalt (Burns House), Rubis Bahamas, Micronet, Fine Threads, Scotiabank, Castrol Oil distributors Bay Street Garage, Colina Insurance, Pictet Bank & Trust, Commonwealth Bank, ZNS, More 94, JCN, The Nassau Guardian, Star Radio, Love 97, Guardian Radio, The Tribune, Three Lite Entertainment and Gems Radio.
“We encourage everyone to come out and support this event. Our children need you,” said Reid.