The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) is the recipient of a generous donation of more than a quarter million dollars from ENYCE, a hip hop fashion label that has provided uniforms for 3,000 co-ed participants in New York City’s largest inner-city basketball tournament. The tournament kicked off at NYCHA’s Manhattanville Community Center earlier this year, and ended with the championship playoffs at the new Polo Grounds Community Center in Manhattan on May 5, 2012. The donation from ENYCE, a fashion label licensed by Oved Group-5 Star Apparel, marked the first time that NYCHA has obtained sponsorship to underwrite the cost of the uniforms for the 45 year-old citywide tournament for its residents. Moreover, ENYCE has committed to being the uniform donor for the tournament potentially through 2015 at an estimated cost of $260,000.
|A NYCHA Citywide Basketball Program team with NYCHA Chairman John B. Rhea (right). (Photo by LLOYD CARTER)|
“This partnership with ENYCE is an investment not only in our residents and our community; it is also an investment in the history of a relationship between basketball and players like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar from Dyckman Houses, Rod Strickland from Mitchel Houses and the Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony from Red Hook Houses – all NYCHA housing,“ said NYCHA Chairman John B. Rhea. “ENYCE’s donation underscores their long-term commitment to the residents of public housing, and brings well-deserved attention to a tournament that has seen players like Los Angeles Lakers forward and former Queensbridge Houses resident Metta World Peace (formerly Ron Artest), and former WNBA Washington Mystics forward and past Astoria Houses resident Chamique Holdsclaw – both of whom played in the NYCHA citywide leagues. “
“We are excited to be part of such an important program of my home town, New York City,“ said ENYCE’s-5 Star Apparel Group President Albert Pardo. “I have lived and breathed basketball my whole life and to give back to the community and see children have the ability to enjoy it as much as I have is a lifetime accomplishment. It is important that today’s youth have the opportunity to play in organized sports and if we can help them achieve this in any way, we will. We look forward to our continued partnership with NYCHA with not only basketball but with all sports. “
ENYCE’s-5 Star Apparel Ilicia Manger approached NYCHA to make the donation after viewing an online YouTube video showing the history of the basketball leagues. The donation provided three thousand co-ed participants each with a full uniform – shorts, home and away jerseys, or one reversible jersey and a sling bag– with both NYCHA and ENYCE logos.
|A NYCHA Citywide Basketball Program girls team. (Photo by LLOYD CARTER)|
At the final championship games on May 5, 170 players from 24 teams joined Chairman Rhea, along with their family and friends, to participate in a half-time contest of foul shots, layups and three-pointers with a team of girls in the 11 and Under age category and NYCHA staff. The Chairman and his team won, with the winning shot being made by fifth-grader DeJanah Williams from Brooklyn’s Lafayette Houses.
Former New York Knicks Forward John Wallace, who played at Madison Square Garden in the 1996-1997 and 1999-2000 seasons, respectively, also joined the event. Wallace spoke to the players about the importance of team sports, and joined NYCHA staff in handing out trophies to winners and runners-up.
“I can’t stress enough the importance of organized team sports to help young people stay focused and disciplined,“ said John Wallace. “Programs like the NYCHA Basketball Tournament provide kids with the benefits of sports and exercise, and build decision-making and cooperation skills – all important in developing young minds. It was a basketball program just like this that helped me to focus and determine the direction I wanted to take in life.“
Over the years, the basketball tournaments have showcased the talents of rising stars, such as top players like WNBA LA Sparks former guard Shannon Bobbitt of King Towers, former New York Knick Stephon Marbury of O'Dwyer Houses, and Kemba Walker of Sackwern Houses, currently a guard with the Charlotte Bobcats. The League, which is managed through NYCHA’s Education Through Sports Unit, consists of approximately 250 teams and serves NYCHA residents, approximately 3,000 youth, in all 5 boroughs, ages 18 and under. Tournament registration is free and open to all NYCHA residents and community center participants. Games are played at NYCHA community center locations throughout the city.
Games this year took place at Manhattanville Community Center (Manhattan); Stapleton Community Center (Staten Island); Hammel Community Center and Parsons Beacon-JHS 168 (Queens); Williamsburg Community Center and Red Hook Community Center (Brooklyn); and Mitchel Community Center, Melrose Community Center, and Sonia Sotomayor Community Center (Bronx). The winning teams in all age categories were: Boys: Baychester Houses and Forest Houses in the Bronx; and Girls: Pomonok Houses in Queens, and Farragut Houses, Williamsburg Houses, and Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn. Each player received a championship trophy.
NYCHA’s Education through Sports Unit offers a wide variety of sports-oriented activities to residents ages six and older, such as basketball, bowling, chess, flag football, karate/tai chi, lacrosse, soccer, netball, softball and the NFL-NYCHA Officiating Academy. These programs offer structured, organized physical activity and educational programming, and afford residents the opportunity to develop improved mental and physical health.
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