Desire community basketball league aims to keep teens safe

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NEW ORLEANS— It’s a weeknight in the Desire neighborhood, and inside of the Carver High School gymnasium, they’re balling.

But before the action starts, there’s business to take care of.

Oscar Brown of the Giving Hope Community Center says, “We pray before we play and after we pray we go out there and we get it in. We make sure that they are no injuries and things like that.”

The headlines of young people in New Orleans breaking into cars, committing robberies, and gun possession are all too common, but that run the Grind Basketball League say that this is the wrong image of all of our teens.

According to Brown, “That’s a small handful of kids, but it’s just happening so often that it looks like it’s a lot. But there are a ton of kids here in the city doing positive things.”

The Grind League plays a couple of nights a week and was organized by Coach James Parlow.

“I train a lot kids and I felt like if I could get them more active in different leagues and different things basketball related, we could get them away form all the nonsense. So I wanted to distract them with basketball,” said Parlow.

The nights are not all fun and games as pro basketball players and former players get to speak to the players about basketball and life.

On this night the special guest was G League star Lamar Peters.

Of the students playing is one of the country’s biggest recruits, Carver’s Solomon Washington.

Washington spoke about the purpose of the league and why he chooses to be apart, “We made this league to get all the kids off the streets, we see all the crazy stuff going on. We’re just trying to stay focused.”

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