Monday, June 11, 2012

Coach Russell Basketball League

Frederick Douglass playground was busy Sunday.

There were 8 10 y.o girl soccer teams in various state of play or practice, with siblings and parents milling about in slivers of shade. And on the court, Coach Russell basketball tournament was in full swing.

Coach Russell has been facilitating inner-city sports for 30 years. The goal of his league is "keeping the brothers off the streets" of Newark, New Jersey. "The league gives them an outlet and it teaches them to be responsible men."

James Russell life's passions are: A love of sports and a rebirth in religion - a spiritual gift he received in church that has led him to a vocation to help young adults.

His basketball league is made up of about 240 players, a staff of scorekeepers, referees and others who prepare soul food for the players. A community effort.

Russell is reaching out for the first time since starting his league in 1981 for financial assistance. "Whatever money we get goes back into the league," he said. Anybody interested in helping the league can call him at (347) 965-7704 or email him at


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