Basketball tournament brings positive role models to kids in NN

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – Among the seven cities, Newport News is already tied for the second highest number of homicides this year. That’s not a ranking to be proud of, and many people who live there want things to change.

The question is – how? Some think the answer may include something as simple as basketball.

“The whole basketball team is in college, and with scholarships,” said Shirley Sealey, referring to her son and about ten of his friends.

Sealey’s son, Benjamin, graduated from Menchville High School and went on to play at Catawba College in North Carolina. He’s back in Hampton Roads this weekend for the sixth annual Stop the Violence Basketball Tournament.

“It’s important because there’s a lot of violence around here lately,” said Sealey. “They can show there’s something out there other than violence.”

Another Menchville alum, Jermaine Brown, is back from Elizabeth City State University. He credits this tournament with keeping him on the path to college.

“In this event, I met one of my AAU coaches,” said Brown. “I wasn’t on the wrong path, but he helped me see that basketball was the thing that I loved to do, and I stuck with it.”

Sealey hopes watching the tournament will do the same for the godchildren she brought with her, as well as other kids growing up in Newport News.

“It shows them that you can do something with yourself, instead of being out there, hanging on the streets,” she said.

Brown believes the community will see the tournament’s impact in the future.

“It’s not going to happen overnight,” he said. “You just have to take it one step at a time.”

The tournament usually raises about $2,500 every year. They money helps 50 kids pay to play AAU basketball and football.

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