Most who follow national news are surely familiar with the awful, record-setting violence being experienced in the city of Chicago this year. Former Pistons and native Chicagoan Isiah Thomas is trying to do his part to fight that. From Scott Powers of ESPN Chicago:
“Ninety to 95 percent of the people who are living in poverty in those situations, they’re kids going to schools, their parents are doing the right things,” Thomas said. “There’s a community of the church, community of aunts and uncles who are about contributing positively to society.
“Now there is a fraction to be addressed, and we need to address that small minority that is in need and is doing harm to the community. We are all affected by it personally.”
Thomas isn’t just saying Chicago needs help, he’s also trying to provide it. He has teamed up with St. Sabina on the South Side and father Michael Pfleger to create the PEACE basketball tournament, which will unite rival gang members through basketball in hopes of ceasing the violence between them. The tournament will be held at St. Sabina’s gymnasium from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday.
At this point, from a basketball perspective, Thomas will always be a polarizing figure for a variety of reasons, some fair, some unfair. But off the court, he’s easily one of the most complex, interesting people to ever play the sport.