CHICAGO (CBS) — Rival gangs came together yesterday at St. Sabina’s in Chicago’s Auburn-Gresham neighborhood to shoot hoops, not bullets.
It was for the second annual Peace Tournament – an event that organizers hope allows gang members to get to know each other, so they’re less likely to shoot one another.
Several NBA players – past and present – came out to coach the four teams of gangs.
They included Joakim Noah, Isiah Thomas, Ben Gordon and Antoine Walker.
Walker is from Englewood and says the event really hits home with him.
The pros offered to listen to the young men and offered them encouragement about moving on to better things if they stay out of trouble.
A shining example of that 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.
A couple of young men who played in the tournament last year say it has made a difference in their lives off the court.
Cartier says playing basketball not only keeps guys out of trouble, but the relationships made in the tournament have lasted.
Corey says playing with someone can really change the way you look at them.