PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Exactly a week ago, the city of Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Department handed out it’s annual sports volunteer award and the hardware went to Rahim Thompson of The Chosen Language and he deserves all the props he gets.
In the summer, at 10th and Olney, you can see some future NBA stars hone their craft in The Chosen League.READ MORE: Philadelphia Seniors Treated To Night Out, Musical At Walnut Street Theatre
Thompson founded the league back in 2002 as a way to help kids stay out of trouble. “A lot of people complain about the youth in Philadelphia, but like I keep telling people, you can’t complain about the youth in Philadelphia if you don’t give them outlets,” Thompson said. “If they see people from there community that actually give back and is in the community, it inspires them.”
It is the only sponsored high school league in the country, free of charge to the players and the fans. Several NBA players have been a part of The Chosen League; players like Wayne Ellington, Kyle Lowry, Gerald Henderson, Markieff Morris and Marcus Morris.
Thompson uses the league to show the players skills that they can use the rest of their lives.READ MORE: Police Searching For Gunmen After Shots Fired Near Chester High School Football Game
“What this league teaches people is discipline, being on time,” he said. “The main thing it teaches is being accountable.”
The kids hope to get noticed by coaches and get a scholarship to play basketball and get an education in college.
Many of the former players come back to coach and teach the next generation and the community has embraced Thompson and the league.MORE NEWS: District Attorney Larry Krasner, Mayor Jim Kenney Speak Out On Philadelphia's Ongoing Gun Violence Crisis
Since 2002, 1,300 players from the league have earned full or partial scholarships to college.