National Basketball Players Association Foundation To Provide $150,000 In Scholarships For NOLA FOR LIFE Midnight Basketball Players

STRIVE NOLA senior core trainer Patrick Young addresses NOLA FOR LIFE Midnight Basketball participants who will be eligible to receive $150,000 worth of scholarship opportunities in the next three years, sponsored by the National Basketball Players Association Foundation.

NEW ORLEANS—On Saturday, July 22, Mayor Mitch Landrieu launched Season 15 of NOLA FOR LIFE Midnight Basketball. Mayor Landrieu also announced $150,000 worth of scholarship opportunities, sponsored by the National Basketball Players Association Foundation (NBPA Foundation), have been made available for Midnight Basketball participants.

         Season 15 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, tipped off at NORD Stallings St. Claude Recreation Center, 4300 St. Claude Ave. at 8:00 p.m. welcoming hundreds of New Orleans residents.

         “Since Midnight Basketball began, we have impacted over 12,000 young people in New Orleans," said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. "This would not be possible without the support of our strong community partners. This year, we are excited to welcome the National Basketball Players Association Foundation as another partner helping us to perpetuate the mission of Midnight Basketball by providing scholarships that will create pathways to opportunities for our young people.”

         During the 2017 NBA All-Star Weekend, the NBPA Foundation made a scholarship commitment to Midnight Basketball of $50,000 per year for the next three years. The NBPA Foundation’s commitment will provide select Midnight Basketball participants the opportunity to attend industry-certified job training programs in New Orleans. The first round of scholarships will be awarded at the close of Season 15.

         Sherrie Deans, executive director of the NBPA Foundation said, “NBA players know as well as anyone the value of youth sport programs. Not only does Midnight Basketball help participants learn the values of teamwork, focus, and mutual respect, it provides unique opportunities for education and job training to so many young people in New Orleans. Our players are excited to play a role in contributing to the success of the program and the young people who participate in it.”

         Sponsored by the New Orleans Pelicans and Domino’s Pizza, the launch event included remarks from City of New Orleans Office of Criminal Justice Commissioner Calvin Johnson and STRIVE New Orleans (STRIVE NOLA) senior core trainer Patrick Young. Mayor Landrieu’s Office of Criminal Justice Coordination coordinates the efforts of public and private agencies involved in the City's crime control, criminal justice and victim assistance activities. 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, city reps said.

         Deputy Mayor Judy Reese Morse said, "We look forward to another successful season of providing great opportunities for the youth of New Orleans. We are proud to work with local and national partners to offer access and resources to our youth.”

         Additionally, there was a raffle for NBPA Foundation water bottles, towels and basketball sleeves. The winning team, Team X, earned NBPA Foundation gear and Domino’s gift cards. Domino’s Pizza also delivered free pizza for participants and spectators.

         Again this year, Midnight Basketball is partnering with New Orleans’ radio personality DJ Wild Wayne and PlayNOLA. The free eight-week season will continue Saturday nights, from July 29 – Sept. 16, from 8:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.

         DJ Wild Wayne said, “Here comes Season 15 of Midnight Basketball! I am excited for another chance to engage with the young men from around the city! We'll get an opportunity to fellowship with them and at the same get some great competitive basketball! Bring your five man team and we'll see you at Stalling's this Saturday night!”

         Lavonzell Nicholson of PlayNOLA said, "We are grateful to partner and continue supporting the City of New Orleans.  As Season 15 announces Midnight Basketball Scholarships, we are proud to take part in a successful program that continues to offer expansive opportunities for our youth in the community."

         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 12,000 participants access to jobs, job training, education and other resources, city reps said.

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