Bronx, NY: For the past twenty-seven years Latino Sports has been hosting the annual Celebrity Basketball Game & Family Health Day at Orchard Beach in the Bronx, NY. This event started out as a family event of bringing two generations, my daughter’s younger generation with mine more senior together. My children and many of their friends enjoyed spending time with me as I was always open to listen to them as many of them enjoyed listening to my numerous South Bronx stories. One day we thought about having an event where we could each invite people from our own generations and just share time and information. That was the original idea almost three decades ago.
We thus organized a forum where we each invited three members of our generation to make a brief presentation and then after all the presentations, a question-and-answer period and then a networking party. The event was a huge success and both generations survived a rare evening of education, history, networking, Hip Hop and Salsa. Unfortunately, the following year my daughter Kimberly that had worked diligently to organize the event with some of her friends went off to college in Rhode Island leaving me with the idea of something that was sorely needed. I thought about a way to continue what we started and since we had the family-owned business, Latino Sports I thought of doing what was more natural for me, a sporting event bringing both generations together, thus the birth of the Raperos Vs. Salseros Celebrity Basketball Game. For years those games brought much delight and entertainment to the community. We had all the rising rappers and established salseros playing in those games. Big Pun, Fat Joe, Magic Juan, appearances by Ivy Queen and for several years the poetry of La Bruja and her ritual of releasing her white doves to bless the games. Tito Nievez, Tito Puente Jr., Los Hermanos Moreno, Ray Sepulveda, Los Hermanos Colón, Larry Harlow were just some of the many salseros that played or did their cameo appearances.
As the years went on many of the musicians started blossoming in their careers and it was becoming more difficult to schedule them and we again transitioned the games which were always held the same last Sunday of the month of August to help promote a cause affecting our community. As for celebrities we redefined the definition of the word “celebrity” to mean anyone in our community that was doing something positive to improve the quality of life. Therefore, teachers, counselors, medics, restaurant owners who donated to the homeless, tenant leaders, etc. were “celebrities”.
The games are now dedicated to sustaining a healthy lifestyle. The fact that the Bronx has consistently been rated as the unhealthiest borough made it easy for us to select this as the yearly theme, thus Celebrity Basketball Game & Family Health Day.
Our feature games are between BronxNet TV and Latino Sports and The Puerto Rican Legends (some of the former players in the Puerto Rican Basketball League) Vs. the New York Senior Citizens League. These games are a good demonstration that age is not a reason to keep from working out and staying healthy. We also added half time entertainment by having youth dance schools perform as well as inviting the audience to join in Zumba classes and other forms of basic exercises. Participants can win tickets to either Yankee, of Mets games. We also provide free Health Screening courtesy of BronxCare Hospital Center.
So now you know the history of one of the best kept secrets, our annual Celebrity Basketball & Family Day at Orchard Beach held on the last Sunday of August. Stop by and join us today.
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