Recently, The Basketball Tournament came to Baltimore, specifically Coppin State University’s state of the art basketball complex.  Thank you to Mayor Pugh, Carmelo Anthony, Dr. Maria Thompson, President of Coppin State University, Kaiser Permanente, ESPN and all the others who had a hand in bringing the tournament to Baltimore.  This was a major undertaking because this was the first year that the tournament has come to Baltimore.  Coppin made money, hotels and restaurants made money, vendors made money and for that one week, the City was viewed as more than a killing zone.

Many of our youth got to watch some of the country’s top basketball players compete on the hardwood for $2 million.  The games provided awesome competition, sportsmanship and a chance for basketball fans to enjoy basketball.  Everyone in attendance appeared to have a wonderful time.  Baltimore is about so much more than the constant reminder of murders many of which are fueled by the drug trade as rivals push for greater profits.

Cameron Miles is the Founder and Executive Director of ‘Mentoring Male Teens in the Hood’.

The basketball tournament also put many of our future leaders and athletes on the grounds of a major institution of higher learning.  Sometimes just the exposure of being in an environment will cause one’s curiosity to peak.  Judging by the audience there, were many youth at the game and just maybe many of them will want to one day attend Coppin or another institution of higher learning.

Basketball was the conduit to bring thousands of people to a safe environment to just relax, enjoy and cheer.  I hope that there will be many more events like the Basketball Tournament that will be highlighted in Baltimore at HBCU’s to showcase the potential for organized events at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.  I felt a great deal of pride watching these games and it helped everyone in attendance focus and realize that Baltimore is a great sports town and must be remembered for more than just killing fields.

Cameron E. Miles is the director of Mentoring Male Teens in the Hood, which is based in Baltimore.