PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia’s Police Athletic League is always working to keep teens out of trouble and on the right track. On Monday, they used the game of basketball to help them in that mission.
School may be out for students around the region on President’s Day but more than 160 Police Athletic League kids are hitting the hardwood at The Palestra.
“This is our youth-16, under 16 legacy boys basketball tournament. They play a season and they get the privilege to play at The Palestra, courtesy of Penn,” said Krista Dahl Campbell, with PAL.
The University of Pennsylvania Division of Public Safety is hosting the Philadelphia teens at Penn’s historic Palestra.
The fun, safe and free event is taking place under the guidance of coaches and mentors from the PAL police unit.
This year included a special tribute from Kobe Bryant’s alma mater, Lower Merion High School.
Basketballs and other memorabilia left outside of the school in the wake of Bryant’s tragic death are being given away to students at this year’s tournament.
“We brought about eight of them over to give to each team and have Lower Merion come out and give them to us,” Campbell said.
“Every kid here loves basketball. So to get a basketball in their hands, I saw a lot of smiles on their faces and that’s what we’re hoping. Kobe Bryant loved the game, he loved really hard work, he loved goal-setting and those are all important things to kids all over our region,” said Amy Buckman, with the Lower Merion School District.
Messages of love and respect can be seen written on the basketballs from those remembering Kobe’s legacy.
It’s a ball that Samir Corbin will use proudly in honor of one of his favorite players.
“I just like the mentality that he played with. He was always going at somebody, he’s very aggressive, he always knew what to do when he got the ball in his hands,” Samir said.
Lower Merion donated over 100 basketballs to the Philadelphia Police Athletic League and the community relations unit.
The balls will be distributed to kids at PAL units throughout the city.