(CBS) — Rival gangs came together Saturday at St. Sabina’s in Chicago’s Auburn-Gresham neighborhood — to shoot hoops, not bullets.
The 2nd Annual Peach Tournament aims to get young men in gangs – or those who may be drawn into gangs – to get to know one another, so they’re less likely to shoot each other.
Several NBA players – past and present – came out to coach the four teams of gangs.
Former NBA player Antoine Walker shared with the young men that he’s from Englewood and understands what they may be going through.
“It does hit home,” he said. “It’s very disheartening for me.”
Before the games, Joakim Noah, Isaiah Thomas and Ben Gordon took questions from the young men. One of them appeared to have brokered a peace deal right in front of the media, asking how rival gang members could hate each other without even knowing one another.
It ended with two opposing gang members hugging.
A shining example of what the Peace Tournament represents is Derrick Rose. The Bulls star point guard grew up in Englewood, one of the city’s most violent neighborhoods.
When Rose entered the gym, the game stopped and the crowd erupted in cheers.
He didn’t play or coach, but did answer a few questions over the PA system, mostly to pacify the crowd that was eager to get close to him.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel attended Saturday’s event, which comes after a gang-related shooting that attracted national attention. Thirteen people, including a child, were injured late Thursday at Cornell Square Park when someone opened fire with a military-style assault weapon.