Pistons commit $300K for youth basketball

Christine Ferretti
The Detroit News

The Detroit Pistons have committed $300,000 to the Detroit Police Athletic League in support of a new basketball program for youth in Metro Detroit, officials said Thursday.

Tom Gores and Arn Tellem joined in the announcement of the newly formed recreational league that will be created and run in partnership with the Detroit Recreation Center and other centers around Metro Detroit.

The $300,000 is being provided by donations from Gores, Tellem and the Detroit Pistons Foundation.

The effort is expected to provide more than 2,100 children with an opportunity to receive basketball instruction, mentoring and leadership development with volunteers and Detroit Police officers. And, as honorary captain, Detroit Pistons guard Reggie Jackson will offer support through instructional videos and selected special appearances, officials said in a Thursday news release.

“Sports teach valuable lessons about teamwork, leadership and commitment,” Pistons owner Tom Gores said in a statement. “I’ve had the opportunity to coach many youth sports teams myself over the years and have seen the benefits first hand. Kids in Detroit need more opportunities to play in a safe environment and mentors who can help them learn important life skills. Working with Detroit PAL to create this new league extends our commitment to inspire positive change throughout the community.”

Mayor Mike Duggan, Police Chief James Craig, city recreation staff as well as Detroit PAL and Palace Sports & Entertainment officials on Thursday are expected to appear at the Patton Park Recreation Center on Woodmere to further discuss the effort.

Officials say the new league will align with the Detroit Pistons’ “Jr. Pistons” affinity club and the NBA’s “Jr. NBA” program, which is designed for boys and girls ages 6-14.

Created in partnership with the Detroit Police Department in 1969, Detroit PAL provides character building, sports and leadership programs to about 13,000 children annually. The nonprofit on Thursday noted its strong commitment to Detroit’s recreation department and commitment to helping facilitate the program in the city’s 17 recreation facilities.

“We are extremely grateful to the Detroit Pistons for supporting our ongoing mission to build character in kids through our athletic programs and ensure that every child in every neighborhood in Detroit has the opportunity to participate,” Detroit PAL CEO Tim Richey said. “We are committed to the neighborhoods and this partnership will allow us to bring organized basketball into every community around the city. We are excited to see the impact this partnership will have on kids all around Detroit.”

Added Tellem, vice chairman of Palace Sports & Entertainment: “Basketball and sports can serve as a great unifying force that creates opportunity and promotes youth achievement. We support Detroit PAL’s efforts to in building strong communities through sport.”

For information or to sign up, contact the Detroit PAL office at (313) 833-1600.