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Street Legends expanding to 52 teams this year

The Street Legends Basketball Organization has some noble and lofty goals for 2011.

A new record number of murders of 94 was set in The Bahamas last year. With that in mind, Street Legends Founder and President Wilton Russell intends to use his league to fight crime this summer.

“For one,’Bridging the Gap’is our theme, and I think the theme itself sets the tone for what our purpose is,”Russell said.”The reason I say this is because we unite these different communities… we get them together, and these are men we’re talking about-bringing them together for one common goal.”

This coming summer, the Street Legends Community Basketball League seeks to establish 52 teams, inclusive of 26 senior men and 26 junior boys basketball clubs. The league will tip off on July 16, and will last for 16 weeks.”I think basketball is a universal sport that brings people together,”Russell highlighted.

So, just how does the league plan to help to combat crime?Russell said:”Well, for one, the 16 weeks that the league runs, will cut-down the amount of people out there that can potentially commit a crime. This keeps them active in a positive setting. It brings them together-seeing their neighbors from Bain Town, from Fort Charlotte, from as far as Gambier, Lyford Cay and Clifton, and they get to play ball against the guys from the other side of the island in Montagu. So, it’s a networking, friendship arena.”

In 2010, the Street Legends organization upgraded from being an annual tournament into becoming a regular league. Last summer they established senior men’s teams in each of the 26 constituencies on the island of New Providence.

“Our target was to get each Member of Parliament to sponsor their constituency team-making them franchise owners of their community basketball team. That was also endorsed by the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture. We hosted a 16-week basketball league-four weeks of which we played on each community park. This was to get the various communities familiar with their relative home teams,”Russell pointed out.

When Street Legends first started about eight years ago at the Baillou Hills Sporting Complex, it had 10 teams that participated. Every year since, more teams have been joining, and enjoying the well-organized, family-oriented atmosphere provided.

Due to it’s growth since that time the organization has been sectioned into four districts, covering all sections of New Providence. The Eastern District is comprised of Marathon, Montagu, the Carmichael Pro Shockers(joined late last year), Fox Hill, Elizabeth Estates and Sea Breeze. In the Western District, there is Clifton, Carmichael Road, Mount Moriah and Golden Isles. In the Northern District, there are Bain Town, Farm Road, Centreville, Englerston, Fort Charlotte and St. Thomas More. The Southern District includes Kennedy, Bamboo Town, South Beach, Garden Hills#1 and Golden Gates.

“When you look at the potential of what it could’ve been… I’m talking about the murder rate, had these team not been involved for the length of time that they were, occupying the time of these players, trust me-they would have found themselves in something negative. The idea that there’s a basketball league out there that caters to them is a good thing. They get a chance to play against other players from around the entire island. They also now have a chance to showcase their talents and sharpen their skills,”said Russell.

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