ALBANY, NY (NEWS10) – A local basketball tournament that was almost sidelined because of violence in the past went on as scheduled Saturday.
“We’re trying to tell everyone that it is a violent free weekend, drama free weekend,” said Latunde King, who started the tournament. “Just come out here and enjoy some basketball.”
From afar the basketball court at Arbor Hill Park looks just like any other.
Teens run back and forth across the court in tense but friendly competition.
The Joyce E. King Tournament brings talented athletes together from all over the capital region.
“From Lionel Charmers, to Jimmer Fredette, to Rashaun Freeman, and Lloyd Pooh Man Johnson, some of the biggest names played here,” said Jamil Hood, who coached a team in the tournament.
The tournament that draws so much talent was in danger of being canceled because of violence in the past.
Police say just last year a gun was recovered during the event.
With the help of Albany Police and volunteers, the community was able to make the event safe again this year.
“If you do think that there’s something going on, then come and do something about it,” said Gerald Malcom, an event organizer. “Come and help monitor the situation.
This year fans weren’t allowed to get too close to the court, every single bag was checked, and fences were put up for added security.
“It made it better, because I feel like it should have been like this from the start,” said one player with Revolution Basketball, a local non-profit youth basketball organization.
“The past couple years, a lot of people got shot, and there were a lot of jumping and fighting going on, so I think this year they’re trying to prevent that,” said another player.
The young basketball players just trying to stay positive, and keep the game going.
“It’s just important to leave all that other stuff behind us,” said another Revolution player. “We don’t want all that drama over here.”