A Riviera Beach native is using his passion for basketball to create opportunities to engage young people and teach them skills on and off the court.
The annual “Stop The Violence, Increase The Peace” basketball camp is coming back to the city after being canceled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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Lorenzo “Lolly” Hutchinson, grew up in Riviera Beach. He founded the nonprofit organization Using Basketball To Better Lives more than a decade ago and says he was inspired to create the camp after a string of homicides in 2017.
“I was fed up with it, I said ‘I have to do something about these young people losing their lives in the street,’” Hutchinson said. “One thing I did know is basketball. It always comes full circle — and that’s when I said ‘I’ll put on a basketball camp.’”
Hutchinson is a former member of the Harlem Globetrotters. He credits the sport with keeping him from getting into trouble as a kid.
Children who participate in his camp get to learn the fundamentals of the game but Hutchinson said he also views it as a way to engage with them.
“Basketball is my passion and I’m trying to introduce that to these kids so I can get them this message of education, obeying your parents, saying no to drugs, how to approach a police officer, how to act in school. Tell them ‘This is what we want to do, we want to be on the right side of life, not the left side,’” Hutchinson said. “Because there’s too many young people nowadays dying in these streets.”
The camp is taking place Saturday, May 15, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Dan Calloway Sports Complex Center. It is open to children ages 5 to 18, free of charge.
“I let the kids keep all the basketballs, they have their shirts, I give them an autograph picture of me when I played for the Globetrotters, we get them a certificate for participating, and we’ll have a great day,” Hutchinson said.