By Gina Martinez
LeFrak City residents gathered Saturday to celebrate hometown legend Kenny “Mr. Chibbs” Anderson with a basketball tournament aimed at helping the youth.
The Lefrak City Tenants Association organized the “Legendary Basketball Day” event at John F.. Kennedy High School, where kids of all ages shot hoops on the basketball court joined by leaders, including state Sen. Jose Peralta (D- Corona) and community officers to honor the former NBA player. There was also a contest to win an autographed basketball signed by Anderson.
Kenny Anderson is best known for his time on the New Jersey Nets in the early ‘90s. He played for Archbishop Molloy High School in Jamaica, where he set the all-time state record for scoring 2,621 points his freshman year. Throughout his career he continued to break records and played for multiple teams, including the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers.
Malikah Shabazz, president of the LeFrak Tenants Association, organized the event. She said it was to mark Anderson’s contributions to the community and to inspire kids who live there as well.
“I know how much basketball means to the children,” she said. “So I said what can I do to not only say thank you but to lift the spirits of the kids in our community, because there is so much going on? I decided to reach out to Kenny Anderson, he’s always given to our community, and I wanted to do something personally for him. I wanted the children to have something of value from him, something they can always cherish so I had him sign the ball.”
Anderson spoke about the importance of returning home and giving back to kids.
“I’ve always been coming back to my neighborhood and helping kids.” he said. “I lost my mother in 2005, but she was always telling me ‘never forget where you came from.’ so I always go back and pay it forward. And I’m not always talking about money but yourself, give yourself, give your time to the youth, give these guys some hope. Some of these kids are just like me. I just had a mentor. All these people from LeFrak mentored me and saved me from going left. When I could have easily went left, I went right and it’s always been a blessing, so I always try to come back.”
Anderson is also working on his documentary “Mr. Chibbs” due to come out this year . The executive producer is Barry Greenstien, who gave out free t shirts to children at the tournament.
“My documentary is coming out, ‘Mr. Chibbs,’ and the slogan is “basketball is easy, life is hard.” Anderson said. “It’s something I really believe, you have to work extremely hard to make dreams come true. Sometimes the route, while you’re going, will get hard. You’re going to doubt yourself but you have to keep fighting and just work.”
Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland (D- Elmhurst) was the primary sponsor of the event, providing kids beverages and snacks as they played basketball.
“There is no way a huge event like this with such a huge star could be passed up, she had to support,” her spokesman said. “She’s excited to team up with the organizers, specifically Malika Shabazz, to make sure today’s event is not just good but great.”
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart