PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Just a week after Providence’s third homicide of the year more than 100 people came together for Hoops Over Violence, a basketball event to recognize student-athletes who choose athletics and education over life on the streets.
The event, held at the Neutaconkanut Recreation Center, had extra meaning as it comes just days after the killing of former Mount Pleasant High School basketball player Kip Stewart.
“There’s a lot of negativity that goes on with the killings and violence and drugs and all that stuff,” Hoops Over Violence participant Kealen Ives told Eyewitness News. “This is something where we can have all the positive role models in the community come together.”
Event organizer Corey Wright, Jr. said he wanted it to be a safe alternative to the sometimes dangerous summer streets.
“Maybe it saved someone’s life, maybe it didn’t, but for this four hours I just wanted people to come in and enjoy just an event, just anything that will keep them off the streets,” he said.
Last weekend, former Mt. Pleasant basketball player Kip Stewart was shot while sitting on a Hartford Avenue porch; he later died from his injuries. Police believe he may not have been the intended target of the shooting. An arrest was made Friday, but the suspect’s name has not been released.
Wright and others said Stewart was a well-loved member of the basketball community.
For players like Ives, who have lost friends and family to gun violence, playing on the courts has become a welcome alternative to trouble on the streets.
“It’s crazy right now,” said Ives of violence in the capital city. “But that’s why we’re here, trying to spread positive vibes and positive light. Bring people together.”
This was the first-ever Hoops Over Violence event but Wright said he hopes to hold many more in the coming years.