In 2005 LL Cool J came to New York Senator Malcolm Smith with the idea that he wanted to create a youth orientated program to give back to his neighborhood in St. Albans, Queens. They both came up with the idea of an annual tournament to be called “Jump and Ball”. The event would be free to the public. The Jump and Ball tournament presents the youth with recreational and sports activities to young people between the ages of 12 and 18 in St. Albans, Queens. The tournament lasts 4 weeks and allows over 100 youth to be exposed to activities that teach them leadership and teamwork skills.
The program provides full court coached basketball games, double dutch, jump rope competitions as well as golf, chess, tennis, and karate. I actually attended the 9th annual Jump and Ball tournament held at Daniel O’ Connell Park in St. Albans, Queens. The event actually exceeded my expectations. The basketball games were constant and the players were bringing their A Game to the court. There was music, food, and various community based organizations in attendance. Some of which included: the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Darby Foundation, Senator Malcolm Smith, his team and many others. The event had the atmosphere of a well organized, fun, community event dedicated to the uplifting of the communities youth.
Later that afternoon LL Cool J arrived , mingled with the crowd, took several pictures, and gave a motivational speech along with Senator Malcolm Smith. It was refreshing to see that LL Cool J did not display any signs of being uncomfortable when mingling with the crowd, and taking pictures. LL seemed very happy to be back in New York and especially to be back in Queens. Many artists, and actors tend to only think about amassing more wealth and personal success as they get older. LL Cool J has always seemed to be community orientated even back in the 90′s when he put together Camp Cool J. Camp Cool J was a non profit organization which provided free year round camping, educational, cultural and recreation programs for inner city youth. It is refreshing to see any artists who have the heart to make money and give back to the community from which they came.
Speech LL Cool J gave at Jump and Ball Event:
LL Cool J Interview at Jump and Ball Event: