Nearly 30-year-old East End nonprofit Hoops 4 Hope — which has been making itself even more known and relevant in the community recently with school programs and more — is hosting its inaugural three-on-three basketball tournament at East Hampton High School (2 Long Lane) this Saturday, August 20.
Event creators point out that the free-to-watch tournament is a good time for adults and kids that will honor the sport on which Hoops 4 Hope was founded while also spreading awareness and enmeshing their programs with the community.
The tournament will begin at approximately 8 a.m. Saturday and each team must have a minimum of three players and a maximum of five. It will include men’s and women’s divisions, and separate brackets for kids aged 13–17 and adults 18 and older. A grand prize will be awarded to the winning team in each bracket and will include four tickets to a New York Knicks game, dinner at a Hamptons restaurant and more.
About Hoops 4 Hope
Hoops 4 Hope (H4H) has been working in underserved communities in Cape Town, South Africa and Harare, Zimbabwe, bringing fun, mentorship and sports since 1995. The organization also connects with local East End schools and programs to enhance community engagement and give students a more educated and empathetic world view by sharing the struggles of other, less privileged kids to cultivate a sense of understanding, duty and service.
Anthony Allison, who accepted his position as H4H executive director from founder and fellow Amagansett native Marc Crandall last December, explains that he’s working to get more local kids involved, and Saturday’s tournament is a good way to improve the organization’s visibility on the East End. “We want it to become a staple for what we do as an organization locally because we’re trying to create as much local context as we possibly can,” he says of the tournament, pointing out that he’d like it to become an annual event.
H4H has worked with students at the Ross School in East Hampton, who traveled as volunteers to Zimbabwe for the past four years. The organization also just began a program with sixth graders at the Montauk School, which Allison says is going well.
“A couple of those kids used all of their bar mitzvah money to pay for specific projects and/or centers over in Zimbabwe and South Africa,” he says, describing the powerful effect H4H had on students at the private school. “That was the type of work we did with those guys, but now we want to actually have programs here similar to the programming that we do in South Africa and Zimbabwe,” he adds.
“One of the things we did with our kids out in Montauk School is we took them out to a basketball court and they took off their shoes and played basketball barefoot, because 90%, 80% of the kids that we work with in Zimbabwe and South Africa are playing barefoot or in school shoes. They don’t have sneakers,” Allison continues, describing efforts to paint a clearer picture for the students of how the other half lives.
“Hopefully our guys locally here will better understand their own community, potentially what some of their peers do and do not have, and then think more globally about their peers in other countries who are challenged every day with maybe potentially not having drinking water, electricity, not having shoes on their feet,” he says.
“The real focus of what Hoops for Hope is — yes we talk about basketball, we teach basketball skills, but really what we’re trying to get down to is life skills and what we call the seven tools of our Ubuntu champion,” Allison explains, describing the African philosophy that says human beings exist through others, or “I am because you are.”
East Hampton High School does not currently run student programs with H4H, but Allison says he’s been speaking with the school’s new athletic director Kathleen Masterson about ideas for the future. He’s also held initial talks with the YMCA to do programs with them in the fall.
Remembering EHHS Coach Ed Petrie
Allison says he’s very excited to play on East Hampton High School’s basketball court on Saturday because it’s dedicated to NY State Hall of Fame basketball coach Ed Petrie, who won the most public high school basketball games in New York State history (754 total wins) and led East Hampton to win two NY State Championships, in 1977 and 1989. Both Allison and Crandall, the founder of H4H, attended EHHS and played for Petrie.
“He certainly had a huge impact on my life, and it’s also the 45th anniversary of one of his state championships, which I was lucky enough to have played on,” Allison says, reminiscing about the 1977 championship.
Any teams who want to play on Saturday must register for $300, which benefits H4H. Spectators may attend for free, but donations are welcome. Along with exciting basketball action, the event will provide food, live music, a silent auction and much more thanks to support from area businesses and sponsors.
To learn more and to register a team, visit hoops4hope.org/east-end-3s.