The Harlem Ambassadors Professional Show Basketball nine-member team performed for and with the students, faculty, and staff at E.K. Key Elementary Tuesday.
According to the website, the show basketball team’s mission includes not only “delivering a quality basketball show to our audiences throughout the United States and internationally,” but also by modeling good citizens for youth.
Members of the team took turns speaking about the ups and downs of their individual journeys. Players spoke of the importance of staying in school and off drugs. The group also works to foster racial harmony.
Yoshives Belizaire, a 30-year-old, 6-4 dunk artist from Florida, is a graduate of the University of Maine at Fort Kent. He told students that when he was in the fifth grade, he began pursuing his dream of being successful basketball player. He credits his older brother for stressing the necessity of always putting forth your best effort. “I worked hard on the court and in the classroom,” he said. After graduating with a degree in Business Finance, Belizaire played professional basketball in both England and Spain.
Brittany Dorsey, the team’s coach and a show performer, followed with a compliment for the students’ display of self-discipline — another integral part of success. Then Marquette Knight, 44, a 6-4 power forward and graduate of Virginia Intermont College, folded his long frame into a seated position to share his story with the students. Knight, a Nashville native whose court name is “Silky Smoooth,” said he struggled as a young man to escape an impoverished childhood. He spoke about family members who made bad decisions about drugs and violence and said he knew that wasn’t what he wanted for himself. “We all have our own mind, own dreams, and own goals,” he said.
At several intervals throughout the show, performers tossed massive beach balls into the crowd, or invited students to join them on stage for toss and catch, all while displaying impressive feats of coordination.
The program was sponsored by Tarver Ford, and local businessmen Tony Guillory, Jack Hebert, and Carl Vincent.