Shooting for Big Goals – On and Off the Court

We know Memphis as a hoop city. But many of us may not be aware of how one basketball star is shooting for goals bigger and more lasting than the average three-pointer.

Before he played basketball for the Memphis Tigers, before he joined the Los Angeles Lakers, Tarik Black grew up in Memphis. The Ridgeway High School graduate and power forward, who also earned a master’s degree at the University of Kansas while playing a season of basketball there, has moved back home to Memphis.

And he’s not here to rest on his basketball laurels. Black has moved to Memphis with a mission: to inspire underserved youth through mentorship, enabling them to become visionaries for ways of improving their own communities. And together with his mother, Judith Moore, Black has started a foundation here in Memphis to carry out that mission. The Tarik Black Foundation has been launched this spring to address the challenges posed by poverty and work creatively to transform the lives of young people.

Black has commented, “Coming from Memphis, I am one of the fortunate ones. Unacceptably, there are thousands of other young people who don’t have the support, mentors and parents to guide their path. That’s where community organizations must pick up the slack to help ensure that every young person has a fighting chance at a successful life. Through the Tarik Black Foundation, I want to do my part to help. I want to create programs that expose youth to positive experiences — that encourage them to dream and inspire them to work toward that dream. Of course, if some aspire and work to become professional athletes, that’s alright too.”

So how will the Tarik Black Foundation go about achieving these lofty goals?

First, through Transformation50: the Foundation’s summer camp that combines basketball training with life skills. 50 young men, ages 11-15, will participate in sessions that teach financial responsibility, conflict revolution, and leadership, in addition to basketball skills. The inaugural Transformation50 is happening this month – at Ridgeway High School, Black’s alma mater.

Second, through a project they’re calling Righteous Revolution – a community-building effort designed “to create unity within commUNITY.” Black and the Foundation held a Righteous Revolution Rally on Friday, July 14 across from Mt. Olive Cathedral CME. The event showcased motivational speakers, as well as food trucks and entertainment. Learn more here.