One of the longest-standing summer basketball events in the country is tentatively set for July, but with the country still under strict measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that event might have to be pushed back for later in the year.
The “Peace on Da Streets” Basketball Classic is now into its 25th year. Chief organizer Pastor Carlos Reid said even if they have to push it as far back as Christmas 2020, they still intend to stage the popular basketball tournament. It features a 13-and-under division, a 14-16 division, a 17-19 division, an open division and a church division. Also, there is the high-flying slam dunk competition, the exciting three-point competition and the always-entertaining celebrity game.
Reid said with this being the 25th year, the silver jubilee edition, there are innovative plans on the table as well.
“Well, we are ready to go – as soon as this pandemic is over and dealt with, we intend to go ahead with the tournament,” said Reid. “This is our 25th year so not having it is not an option right now. We just want to make sure we do it the right way – not breaking any laws and not putting anyone in danger. Even if we have to push the tournament back to later in the year, our intention is to still have it. Based on how the country is progressing, we will make a decision on when to have it.”
Reid said a number of their sponsors over the years remain committed to supporting the event once again.
“Right now, it’s just a matter of us being allowed to play, and once the ‘all clear’ sign is given, it’s full steam ahead,” he said. “This one means something to us. For 25 years, we have been laboring on this tournament, so this one is special, and with everything that has gone [on] in the country in the past 12 months, from Hurricane Dorian to COVID-19, hopefully an event like this could uplift the spirits of people in the various communities.”
Reid said it is their intention to have all of the amenities of years past, and also add something new this year.
“The slam dunk competition is always a headliner, and we anticipate that would be the case again. The three-point competition is still on, the celebrity game and all the other amenities are still planned,” he said. “We are looking at a girls’ division as well. We tried to bring it out before but it didn’t come off well. That is one of the things that we have been discussing to see if we could pull it off successfully this year. We are also looking at a primary division. There is a grouping of kids from ages eight to 12 who we need to cater to. If we could get those young kids in an organized basketball event, hopefully we could program their minds to want to continue in the sport.”
The classic is usually staged the second week in July, but with COVID-19 continuing to wreak havoc, of course that date is not set in stone. Over the past few years, it has been held at the Hope Center off Big Pond Highway, with the championship games in the various divisions at the Kendal G.L. Isaacs National Gymnasium. At this present time, the gym is under refurbishment after being used as a housing structure for displaced victims from Hurricane Dorian from the northern Bahamas.
“We’re optimistic that the gym will be available for use and that in short order, the country will return to some state of normalcy. It will be difficult to put social distancing in place with an event like ours, but we will do whatever is necessary. We’re trusting God. We believe that He has us covered,” said Reid.
One of the featured events of the week-long classic is the slam dunk competition. Reid said from all indications, this event will be intense again with defending champion Azaro “Z” Roker coming back to defend his title. A duel between Roker and perennial slam dunk champion “Worm” out of the United States for this year’s title is shaping up, as the latter has expressed interest in returning to The Bahamas for the event.
The hype is on.
Reid thanked the many sponsors of the event for sticking with him through this pandemic, stating that without them, it wouldn’t be possible.