SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The City of Shreveport’s Office of Fair Share and the Shreveport Police Department partnered for a day of citywide basketball tournament play in an effort to curb violence in the city and help neighborhood youth build relationships.

The Hoop Don’t Shoot Basketball Tournament started at 9 a.m. Saturday at recreational centers around the city.

City of Shreveport Fair Share Director Leon Wheeler said the games intend to help young people in the area learn unity.

“Let’s tone it down, have some fun. Don’t take things so seriously,” Wheeler said.

Today’s Hoop Don’t Shoot event included 16 teams participating in tournament play around the city Saturday.

The tournament’s teams play are divided into ages 12 – 16 and 16 – 23.

Wheeler says basketball is a great way for community and business leaders to develop relationships with young people in the city they otherwise would not.

He says he hopes the teams will stay together beyond the tournament and that business owners will continue supporting initiatives like these.

“Love our children. We want our children to have a good career and positive life until they are 80 or 90. We don’t want their lives cut short.”

Hoop Don’t Shoot Tournament locations:

A.B. Palmer Recreations Center

Airport Park Community Center

Southern Hills Community Center

Lakeside Park Community Center

Winning teams will advance to the second round:

Saturday, July 23 at 9:00 a.m., David Raines Community Center

Finals will be played:

Saturday, July 30 at 9:00 a.m., Princess Park.