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Area high school athletes use 'BLM' for team name in basketball tournament

(KWCH)
Published: Jun. 14, 2020 at 4:42 PM CDT
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For a weekend MAYB tournament at Next Level Hoops Academy in Wichita, one team took what is going on in the world and brought it onto the court. The high school basketball players changed their team name to 'BLM.'

“So it was mostly like Ty and his dad with the base idea," a player on 'Black Lives Matter,' Gradey Dick said. "So once the MAYB, we heard they were having a tournament, this would be a good platform to get that word out and get that idea and just rep it.”

Dick is a junior at Sunrise Christian Academy -- and is one of the top ranked basketball players in Kansas. This weekend, he's paired with other big names like Ty Berry and Tamar Bates.

While this summer tournament should seem like any other on the court, their team chose to change its name because of what's happening off of it.

"We thought using the name ‘Black Lives Matter’ would be good just for what’s going on in the world right now, show some love and play for a good cause," 'Black Lives Matter' teammate Ty Berry said.

“Last week we played in the tournament up here and our name was Team Love," said fellow 'Black Lives Matter' player Tamar Bates. "So that has something to do with it. Like love all around the country and just how big this stuff has been.”

“For me growing up, it was just a normal thing to play with my brothers and it’s just kind of hard to think some people can kind of judge basically your color," Dick said. "We’ve been playing with each other since we’ve been growing up.”

With a few of the top players in the state playing on this team, they know they have a lot of eyes watching them so they decided to take advantage of this opportunity.

Bates traveled from Kansas City to compete in this basketball tournament.

“Just to show people that we’re more than athletes," Bates said. "Show them that we pay attention to the real world and just because we’re athletes and we play basketball, we’re looked at on a higher stage than other people around the area.”

“Really just to show that everybody is the same and that we can all be one unit,” said Berry.

“We have those warm up shirts so when people come to watch us warm-up, get dunking and everything in warm-ups and kind of hype everybody up, they see those shirts and it spreads the message,” said Dick.

Hoops action for this tournament concludes Sunday evening.

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