NEW ORLEANS – Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced the launch of Season 14 of Midnight Basketball as well as the significant contributions the National Basketball Players Association Foundation (NBPA Foundation) made to Midnight Basketball and other initiatives within the NOLA FOR LIFE strategy.
Season 14 of Midnight Basketball, a program that focuses on providing safe recreational activity, jobs and opportunities in crime hot spots for males over 16 years old through basketball, mentorship and support, will tip off at the new NORD Milne NOLA FOR LIFE Center (5420 Franklin Ave). The free eight-week season will begin on Saturday, March 11, 2017 with registration at 7 p.m. and the tournament tipping off at 8 p.m. Regular tournament play will continue Saturday nights, from March 11 to April 29, from 8 p.m. to midnight.
“NOLA FOR LIFE Midnight Basketball has proven to be a great success for the young men of New Orleans,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “Along with providing recreational opportunities in a fun, safe environment, we are connecting young men in our community to job opportunities, educational resources and other services to help them create their own pathways to prosperity.”
Midnight Basketball is a part of Mayor Landrieu’s comprehensive Murder Reduction Strategy, NOLA FOR LIFE and reaches young men who may be at risk of being impacted by violent crime in the city. Since its launch in January 2012, the program has given over 13,000 participants access to jobs, job training, education and other resources.
Sponsored by the New Orleans Pelicans and Domino’s Pizza, the launch event will include remarks from STRIVE NOLA Senior Core Trainer Patrick Young. As a part of Mayor Landrieu’s Network for Economic Opportunity Strategy, STRIVE NOLA connects disadvantaged jobseekers to employment opportunities through anchor institutions by providing workforce case management, foundational skills training and supportive services.
Deputy Mayor Judy Reese Morse said, “Midnight Basketball is a key prevention initiative that allows us to create the best opportunities and a solid future for the city’s young men. We look forward to continuing to make progress in their lives and appreciate the support of our partners in these efforts.”
The Network for Economic Opportunity will offer access to resources beginning at launch and continue throughout Season 14 at www.nolaforlife.org/
Additionally, there will be a raffle for a Nike basketball, gift card, NBA socks, and MidnightBasketball shirt. T-shirt giveaways will take place throughout the season. Again this year, Midnight Basketball is partnering with PlayNOLA and New Orleans’ radio personality DJ Wild Wayne.
Lavonzell Nicholson of PlayNola said, “After moving around various neighborhoods in the City, it’s very exciting to host midnight basketball in the Gentilly community. NORD Milne NOLA FOR LIFE Center is a great facility, and we look forward to a large turnout for Season 14.”
DJ Wild Wayne said, “Midnight Basketball is back for season 14 and I’m excited for another great opportunity for young men across the city to participate in the tournament! I’ve seen a number of these guys grow over the last few years. I think the message from the guest speakers and the job resources are a fabulous bonus in addition to the basketball games! I can’t wait to see some of the new young guys experience it. Let the games begin!”
NBPA FOUNDATION CONTRIBUTIONS TO NOLA FOR LIFE
During the NBA All-Star Weekend, the NBPA Foundation made a scholarship commitment to Midnight Basketball of $50,000 per year for the next three years, and partnered their #EverydayDad campaign with the launch of NOLA FOR LIFE’s Crescent City Dads Program.
“The City of New Orleans is grateful for the continued partnership of the NBPA Foundation,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “Because of their generous donation to Midnight Basketball, some of our young men will have access to better educational opportunities. Additionally, we appreciate their participation in the Crescent City Dads program launch with their #EverydayDad campaign. Because of the NBPA Foundation’s strong support, the NOLA FOR LIFE Strategy will be able to have greater impact on the people of New Orleans.”
NBPA Foundation Executive Director Sherrie Deans said, “Our players know the value of building capacity in our youth as well as the corresponding role strong fathers play. The NBPA Foundation is proud to support the NOLA FOR LIFE effort on both fronts and glad to be part of providing African-American men with greater access to opportunities that drive individual and community success.”
The NBPA Foundation’s commitment will provide select Midnight Basketball participants with the opportunity to attend industry-credentialed job training programs in New Orleans. The first round of scholarships will be awarded later this year.
During All-Star Weekend, the NBPA Foundation also brought its #EverydayDad campaign to New Orleans to co-host the launch of NOLA FOR LIFE’s Crescent City Dads, a program that strengthens father-child relationships and educates fathers on parenting techniques. The #EverydayDad team conducted a photo shoot and recorded interviews of local fathers discussing the importance of effective fatherhood.
“We appreciate the NBPA Foundation partnering their #EverydayDad campaign with the launch of the City’s Crescent City Dads program, “ said Deputy Mayor Judy Reese Morse. “Educating fathers in New Orleans and abroad is critical and we appreciate the NBPA for helping us to magnify the importance of that work.”
Held at the Rosenwald Recreation Center, the event brought NBA players’ fathers Charles Paul, Sr. (Father of LA Clipper Chris Paul), Roy Hibbert, Sr. (Father of Milwaukee Buck Roy Hibbert) and Charles Watson, Sr. (Father of Orlando Magic Player C.J. Watson) to join the discussion.
The Crescent City Dads initiative is a collaboration between NOLA FOR LIFE and Healthy Start New Orleans. Programming includes two 12-week sessions from the 24/7 Dads curriculum, which includes group discussions around effective communication, manhood and relationships. Monthly sessions will also be held using the Parents as Teachers (PAT) curriculum that focus on other topics relevant to fathers. Additionally, there will be family days planned for the fathers to engage with their children in a fun group setting as well asdate nights allowing couples to enjoy a night out while their children are cared for in a safe environment.
The NBPA Foundation launched #EverydayDad in 2015 to celebrate fathers and fatherhood and to provide inspiration for fans to celebrate their own relationships with their dads and their kids. Through events across the country, the initiative compiles stories in photos and video that capture the essence of fatherhood. These stories can be found on the website www.everydaydad.nbpa.com, where the public is also invited to share their own stories.
About NOLA FOR LIFE
Launched in May 2012, NOLA FOR LIFE is New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s comprehensive strategy to tackle the city’s historically high murder rate. Recognizing that law enforcement alone cannot solve the murder problem, NOLA FOR LIFE takes a holistic approach to get to the root of the problem and implements initiatives in five main categories: Stop the Shooting, Invest in Prevention, Promote Jobs and Opportunity, Strengthen the NOPD and Get Involved and Rebuild Neighborhoods. In the four and a half years since NOLA FOR LIFE launched, there has been a 22% reduction in murder rate. For more information, visit www.nolaforlife.org
In June 2016, the City of New Orleans released the NOLA FOR LIFE 2016 Four-year Progress Report, which details why certain initiatives were selected, who they are reaching and the results they have produced. Click here to view the Progress Report.
About The National Basketball Players Association
The NBPA Foundation is the charitable arm of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), the union for current professional basketball players in the NBA. The Foundation provides strategic funding and support for players’ community engagement initiatives worldwide. For more information about the Foundation, visit www.nbpafoundation.com.