Hoop hopes: spreading positivity and self-esteem through basketball

Hoop hopes: spreading positivity and self-esteem through basketball

Keeping kids on the court and out of a court of law.

Dozens of children were in attendance at the Community Boys and Girls Club of Wilmington Friday afternoon to watch two teams square off in a friendly game of basketball.  The 5th Annual Drug Awareness Tournament showcased volunteers from the New Hanover County Sheriff's Department and motivational speaker Larry Legend's streetball team.

Larry Legend (whose real name is Larry Gadsden) has been speaking to kids around the world for nearly two decades with his anti-bullying and anti-drug message. He says every time he talks is a new opportunity to shape the minds of the kids with which he interacts.

"These kids make everything I've done worthwhile," said Gadsden. "I live a good life, and it's all about just being able to wake up in the morning and help somebody else."

Playing on the Legend's team, was Devron Jefferson. As a troubled 16-year-old, Jefferson says Larry's mentorship and life lessons provided an avenue to turn life around for himself and his four kids.

"He taught me how to treat kids right, and got me into a mentoring program," said Jefferson. "Now, I've gone back to school, and [I'm] trying to raise my own kids."

When not on the hardwood, Larry shared smiles and autographed souvenir water bottles for the children watching in the bleachers. A symbol that the lessons they learn today with stay with them tomorrow and beyond.