On June 21 st , we kicked summer off right with the Freedom Jam Invitational. 2v2 games were held from noon till sun down and even with non-stop ballin’, it was hard to look away from the action.
Let’s set the scene, think 72 and sunny, not hot enough to see the heat rise off the blacktop but just hot enough for some bristles of sweat after a few dribbles.
Seasoned hoopers and newcomers alike laced up for a day packed with good vibes and positive energy. Some performers even pulled up to the scene, instrument in hand, adding rays of bliss with immaculate violin skills, creating VBL’s own trap symphony. Beef served on the court was all in good fun, and off the court in the form of veggie burgers and sausage, thanks to grill master Joey
As the group play went on we saw some amazing games and a lot of ‘dunk or get dunked on’ vibes. The new kid on the block Brad Ezewiro, impressed the crowd showing some serious talent. And of course, we have to pay respects to Mamadou Ndiaye, standing at 7’6 (it just feels wrong not to mention his height) who gets buckets with just a flick of the wrist. Victoria Mazzeo and Stephania Ergemlidze held their own while repping for the ladies, game faces on while putting their opponents on skates.
Here’s the thing about the Freedom Jam Invite. Right now, times are weird, they are hard and overwhelming but the world will keep spinning. What happens when we show up for sport, as a community, is a beautiful thing, it’s a light that can overcome the deepest darkness. And while we scour these grounds, fighting for change and making waves, we are grateful for this sport and can’t wait to bring the city together for many more days like this one and to continue leveraging basketball as a platform for social activism.