NEW ORLEANS, LA—On Saturday, March 8, 2014, Mayor Mitch Landrieu, the New Orleans Pelicans and PlayNOLA kicked off season six of NOLA FOR LIFE Midnight Basketball, which focuses on providing safe recreational opportunities in crime hot spots for young men through basketball, mentorship and support. Season six welcomes a new sponsorship from Nike, including the donation of 150 new uniforms. Nike’s sponsorship of NOLA FOR LIFE Midnight Basketball highlights the company’s investment in New Orleans, beginning in 2008 with the refurbishment of the St. Bernard Center basketball court and the $23.4 investment in Joe Brown Park.
View photos from NOLA FOR LIFE Midnight Basketball
The league consists of a series of 5-on-5 NCAA-type tournaments from 8 p.m. to Midnight. The 10-week season will take place Saturday nights from March 8 to May 10 at the Lyons Center, 624 Louisiana Avenue. NOLA FOR LIFE Midnight Basketball is free and open to males over 16 years old. Each week, members of the winning team will each receive a pair of tickets to a Pelicans home game and the team that wins the most tournaments by the season’s end will receive a $1,000 grand prize and championship package from Nike.
“NOLA FOR LIFE Midnight Basketball’s success has developed tremendously since 2012. With strong community partners supporting this league's success the possibilities are endless for what this league can do in changing a young man’s life for the better,” said Mayor Landrieu.
The NOLA FOR LIFE Midnight Basketball League is a part of Mayor Landrieu’s comprehensive strategy to reduce murders in New Orleans. Midnight Basketball aims to reach young men who are mostly likely at risk of being victims of or contributors to violent crime in the city. Midnight Basketball’s inaugural season started in January 2012 as part of the Saving Our Sons initiative. Today with support from community partners and sponsors, the NOLA FOR LIFE initiative has touched over 5,000 participants.
“We are proud to continue our partnership with Mayor Landrieu and the City to give young men a positive outlet through the Midnight Basketball program,” said Saints and Pelicans Owner/Vice Chairman of the Board Rita Benson LeBlanc. “Through Midnight Basketball and interaction with positive role models who care about their futures, we hope that the young men in the program feel motivated to be active and healthy, as well as inspired to set goals for their future."
“With the renovation of the Lyons Recreation Center and the support of Nike and the New Orleans Pelicans, Midnight Basketball in its sixth season is a testament to the value of recreation in the lives of our youth. We are grateful the community is again supporting this initiative,” said Lavonzell Nicholson of PlayNola.
Season six’s theme “Destined for Greatness” will introduce participants to positive role models from the community who provide mentorship and educational support. Encouraging participants to pursue their academic goals and stay focused on personal achievement.
Local role model and radio personality DJ Wild Wayne plays an essential role in the NOLA FOR LIFE efforts, by lending his media presence every week to share the benefits of participating in Midnight Basketball with his listeners.
Launched in May 2012, NOLA FOR LIFE is New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu's comprehensive murder reduction 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; Improve the NOPD; and Get Involved and Rebuild Neighborhoods.
For more information, visit www.nolaforlife.org and tune in to NOLA FOR LIFE original programming 24/7 on Cox Cable Channel 99.