100 Kids Participate in LA Interfaith Basketball Event: ‘Sports Is the Greatest Equalizer’
Some 100 students participated in an interfaith basketball clinic in California last week, led by American-Turkish NBA player Enes Kanter Freedom and Jewish college basketball star Ryan Turell.
The event was held at Sinai Temple, a Conservative synagogue in Los Angeles, and welcomed students from first through eighth grades of various backgrounds. It also included a panel discussion with Freedom, Turell, and the founder of the Muslim Coalition for America, Omar Qudrat.
“We have to put our differences on the table and find what we have in common,” said Freedom, an 11-year NBA veteran. “We only have one world to live in…[and] we need to make this world better together.”
Turell, an Orthodox Jew and a former star guard at Yeshiva University, said in turn, “it doesn’t matter where you come from — Muslim, Jewish, Christian — you can be anybody, as long as you put in the work you can be anything.”
Earlier this summer, Freedom led a basketball camp in Jerusalem for Muslim, Jewish, Christian, and Druze children. “We can use basketball as a tool to change [peoples’ mindsets],” he said of his work in Israel. “Let’s just talk one language: it’s basketball.”
Qudrat, who spearheaded the interfaith clinic, described it as “a dream come true.”
“Sports is the greatest equalizer,” he continued. “[Regardless of whether] you’re rich, you’re poor, [or] your race, your gender, you get on the court, it’s just you and how you play and how you’re playing with your teammates, and that’s it.”