‘Hoops 4 Literacy’ brings celebrity basketball game with Wichita State feel

Sports Editor

Former Shocker basketball players Juston White, Paul Miller, Jamar Howard, Carl Lemons and Troy Mack will be taking part in a celebrity basketball game for a good cause this Friday.

Former WNBA and Harlem Globe Trotter star Lynnette Woodard will be the celebrity host for the game. Storytime Village, Inc. and Hoops 4 Literacy are partnering for the game in order to inspire a lifelong love of reading for underserved Kansas children from birth to age eight.

“What we’ve done is to engage kids in something they’re interested in, like sports,” said White, former Shocker basketball player and chairman of Hoops 4 Literacy. “In this particular instance, we’re using basketball to raise excitement and awareness of child literacy.”

It’s an opportunity to see former Shocker basketball players on the court again, as well as a chance to help promote literacy among children.

“Because of the excitement we’ve received from the community, we’re looking at making Hoops 4 Literacy a program within Storytime Village,” White said. “We will have assemblies at schools where players come out and interact with the children, and they will talk to the kids about the importance of school and getting your education.”

The Hoops 4 Literacy celebrity basketball game will become an annual event, White said.

Storytime Village and Hoops 4 Literacy are starting a recognition program for children. There will be particular academic criteria for children that participate, and if they reach a certain goal in reading and comprehension, they will be recognized throughout the community. They will be made Hoops 4 Literacy “all-stars.”

“We’re looking at doing basketball camps where kids can participate,” White said. “We have celeb players and former players that will hold camps. We’ll invite kids in the community that are part of the program, and the criteria is that they have to make some academic requirement or show improvement in school.”

Storytime Village also does book readings where community leaders and volunteers will sit down with kids and read to them.

WSU men’s and women’s basketball players will serve as judges for audience participation activities and a celebrity dunk contest.

The game kicks off the Black Arts Festival, which will include a parade on Saturday. The celebrity basketball game will be at 7 p.m. Friday at the Boys & Girls Club, 2400 N. Opportunity Drive. Admission is free with the donation of a children’s book.