Kings of the Court basketball tournament kicks off

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 3, 2006

They’re more likely to be wearing sweatbands than crowns, and carrying an orb, not a scepter, but they will be holding court.

Again this year, Operation: Kids will have its second annual Memorial Day Weekend Kings of the Court basketball tournament and Celebration at Ironton’s Ninth Street playground.

The multi-cultural event — which begins with prayer and opening ceremonies at 5 p.m. Friday — will feature double elimination, 5-on-5 basketball games with the winning team taking home 50 percent of the total registration fees. There will also be music, children’s activities, prize giveaways and food vendors.

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“The whole point is for the community to get together and for the kids to have fun,” organizer Traci Fisher said. “This is an opportunity for people of all faiths to come together and do something together.”

Fisher has sent letters to Ironton area churches, inviting them to participate in the festival.

The Rev. Eric Barnes, youth minister at First Baptist Church of Ironton, will speak. The First Baptist youth group will take part in the festivities throughout the weekend, as will members of Quinn Chapel A.M.E. Church, New Jerusalem Christian Center, and Faith United Church of the Nazarene.

The event continues until 8 p.m. Sunday evening. On Saturday, the Ironton Fire Department and Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office will have demonstrations. At 7 p.m. after the basketball games, DJ Ivan and MC Drew Carter “The Party Sparker” will provide music and entertainment, followed by a cappella singer Shawn Clark.

On Sunday there will also be gospel music.

The basketball tournament has its roots in the old Operation Be Proud organization that sponsored a basketball tournament each year.

When Operation Be Proud ceased to exist a few years ago, some were concerned the annual tournaments would as well.

Last year’s event drew an estimated 1,000 people. Fisher said she wants to see the event grow each year.

“I’m really hoping and praying for 2,000 this year,” she said.

Registration for teams is $200.00 with up to ten players admitted. For rules, registration and other information, Fisher can be reached at 534-2358.