Written by Nathifa King | Edited by Kayla Swindell
Photo Credit By: @itsmarquisg
HealthJox Festival – Summer 2023 ended with a bang! In conjunction with BK Net-Work and HealthJox Foundation, Youth from New York City were captivated by the safe spaces provided, where they were able to test their athletic skills on NYC’s infamous black-top courts. Coach Zak Solomon and Coach Jason spearheaded the summer kickoff with the new branded tournament called “Game of Thrones.” Youth from various parts of the 5-boroughs and out of state came out to battle for the crown.
SATURDAY, JULY 29, 2023
As promised, in addition to the basketball tournaments, HealthJox Festival offered life-size board games, face painting, balloon twisting and treats for the kids. There were also fruits, Body Armor beverages and unlimited water. Attendees of all ages were able to enjoy games of Pickle Ball and AirOdart. The BK Net-Work tournament led initial teams to the playoff games. The final showdown culminated at the HealthJox Festival championship rounds at Brooklyn Bridge Park. The Brooklyn District Attorney – Eric Gonzalez presented Citations to NYC’s basketball elites and community leaders provided by Mayor Eric Adams and The City of New York.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 16, 2023
Excitement filled the air, as each player was aware of how high the stakes were. Instinctively, each team prepared for the battle of the summer! All teams knew that the winner of each game would be positioned to walk away with the most coveted trophy and a year’s worth of bragging rights!
According to Coach Zak: “Bushwick Ballerz” led by their MVP @wavii_the_artist; sustained by 2022 MVP @_juvijuvi; the Leadership of @chriscep.4 & @jermstockton and Round 3 STANDOUT @im.tglo, (@pure_ignorance34 @this_life_is_cool MIA) survived an arduous Round 3 GAUNTLET on August 19 to take the championship. This included consecutive wins against the defending champion “5BoroBallers,” followed by a nail-biter against powerhouse “TGOE,” and finally enduring a 20 Point-Run and near comeback by the original champ “Dominator Squad.’ What a run!”
Photo Credit By: @itsmarquisg
Coach Zak addressed the players: “It was a tough, beautiful, and often bitter-sweet tournament gentlemen! We Made It. 8-teams completed 14-full games as part of a double elimination tournament to determine a legitimate champion over the course of 3-Separate Saturdays. What a feat, not to mention coordinating with an 8-team high school division; a 4-team women’s division; a 2-team seniors division.”
HealthJox was very excited to present the ladies championship where “Lady Cardinals” battled “LadiesWhoHoop” for the crown.
According to Coach Zak: “Overwhelming Gratitude to @ladieswhohoop for participating in our “Game of Thrones” Tournament at Brooklyn Bridge Park as well as for enduring our often-steep learning curve as we scale this co-ed, intergenerational, community-based tournament to epic proportions. Thank you! We are eager to continue our partnership.”
Photo Credit: @avg_pictures
60’s & OVER BASKETBALL EXHIBITION:
HealthJox Festival was pleased to also present the 60’s and over basketball exhibition hosted by Lahh Woods & Front Court Masters. These OG’s showed that they still have the passion and athleticism for the game of basketball as they exhibited their skills and strategic, masterful moves on the court. Their showmanship displayed that they still possessed what it took to extend the love of the game beyond high school and professional sports. As founder of the Breathe Life Foundation and official ambassador of HealthJox, Coach Ted Gustus, who notably won the MVP during the exhibit, urges people of all ages to become a Health Jock for your life.
Photo Credit by: Maxed Out Photography
SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR SPONSORS & SUPPORTERS:
BK Net-Work; Brooklyn Health Equity; Pepsi Co; Brooklyn District Attorney – Eric Gonzales; Brooklyn Borough President – Antonio Reynoso; Breathe Life Foundation; Both Sides of the Violence; Moms Demand Action; Solidarity Movers; NYPD; FDNY; I Will Graduate; Keep This Link, @bothsidesoftheviolenceinc @richroots_richfruits @ladieswhohoop @brooklyn_expresss @nextuporg @ballin4peace @ebcruckerpark @echelon.endeavors @avg_pictures @dezzyf_nbaby @brooklynbridgepark
HealthJox Foundation, Inc. and HealthJox LLC would like to dedicate the HealthJox Festival – 2023 in loving memory of Christopher Cespedes – who assisted his team, the “Bushwick Ballerz”, in winning the 2023 “Game of Thrones” Championship. Rest In Peace Chris.