Pro hosts 508 basketball tournaments on Sundays
BROCKTON – More than 350 Brockton residents gathered at South Middle School for 508 Sundays, a basketball event hosted by Nisre Zouzoua, a Brockton native and professional basketball player in France.
âI created this event to bring the community together for something positive with music and to create an environment where little kids can interact with the older kids they love to play basketball,â Zouzoua said. .
Sunday’s event was not the first Zouzoua organized. The first event was four years ago, and events are improving with more students playing, and the crowds are increasing each time, Zouzoua said.
âThe first event offered food and a gift of sneakers, shorts and other basketball equipment to the children,â Zouzoua said. “We have had six events since, and I will continue to host more events in the future.”
Zouzoua started his basketball journey at Brockton High School, then transferred to Boston Trinity Academy and graduated in 2015.
He guided the Brockton High School basketball team to a place in the MIAA Division I playoffs in 2013.
He also brought Boston Trinity back to the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) championships as a junior and senior. Zouzoua scored 1,000 points for Boston Trinity, two-time player of the year, two-time Boston Globe All-Scholastic selection and New England Preparatory School Athletic Council Championship MVP.
He played Division I basketball for Bryant University, then transferred to the University of Nevada, and now plays overseas in France.
âI’m trying to do my part to make Brockton the most prosperous city there is. I feel like we have so many talents and hidden gems in the city that play sports, but not just sports, but music, art and academics. My goal one day, Brockton will get the recognition we deserve, “Zouzoua said.
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The first step in creating an event of this magnitude is to use social media. Zouzoua made a flyer and posted it on all of his social media and encouraged his friends and family to do the same.
âWe used social media to help, but it takes a community to want to spend time together,â Zouzoua said.
A lot of people were on the sidelines watching the games. Others sat on the floor with large groups of friends bonding around the love of basketball. You could hear the laughter and feel the excitement in the air.
There were two courts. One court hosted the main basketball game and the second court was open to free play.
The main basketball event had over 25 games and two girls’ teams. Aliyah Brito, a powerful striker from Western New England University, helped Zouzoua organize the teams and start the matches. Zouzoua’s role was to point out mistakes, manage time and keep groups running. Each game continued until the first team scored 11 points.
âToday was the start of something new. We have girls playing and in the future there will be a lot more female representations at events like this,â Brito said.
âWe want girls to know that they are supported in the city. We are trying to promote more mixed culture with girls. It builds mental toughness by competing with boys of the same level. This is the kind of competitiveness that we breed at Brockton. ”
Ngozi Nwosu, a 16-year-old basketball player from Brockton High School, said she found the event useful not only for improving her skills but also for the chance to play with other talents at Brockton. .
âIt’s a good learning experience to play with boys who have a different skill level than ours, and participating feels good. I love going out and being in this community. It’s such a vibe here. , and I love being in that environment, âsays Ngozi.
Ngozi’s favorite part of the event was watching all different ages and skill levels play. It’s never a dull time and it’s always entertaining, she said.
âNothing is better than having your community unified,â Ngozi said.
Other people attended the event to watch and inspire their children to find inspiration.
Malika Brown, a friend of Zouzoua’s family, has a 12-year-old daughter who admires Brito and his basketball skills.
Zouzoua plans to help her daughter step out of her comfort zone this summer and teach her how to be a little more aggressive when playing on the pitch.
Watching other female basketball players is a useful experience and positive reinforcement, Brown said.
âThis event is very special to me. I try to go out when I can. My daughter came to see Aliyah, and she’s a major influence on her, and she loves watching her perform,â Brown said.
Zouzoua will continue to facilitate basketball events like this in the future. In addition, he asks the community to come and share their support and sponsorship for the event to make it even better.
Some necessary sponsorships are food vendors, children’s clothing and anything that would be helpful is appreciated.
One thing that would be amazing, he said, is to bring in bleachers for spectators to come and sit and enjoy the games.
At South Middle School, there are few seats that cannot hold 350 people, forcing them to sit on the floor or stand on the sidelines.
Zouzoua finds it essential that successful people come back to their community and be a shining light for children.
Duane Thompson, a 16-year-old basketball player with several Division I offers, said Zouzoua was a big inspiration to him and that he hopes to follow in his footsteps one day and play professional basketball.
“It’s up to us and our generation to make a change and be the voice of our community. We need to speak up and create change in Brockton and inspire young people. It’s up to us. Brockton is just too. big as we do, “Zouzoua mentioned.
âWe are young enough to connect with younger children and older enough to change the narrative of what people generally believe is negatively associated with Brockton and we are working to change that,â Zouzoua said.
Enterprise staff reporter Alisha Saint-Ciel can be reached by email at email@example.com You can follow her on Twitter at @alishaspeakss. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Enterprise today.