Steve Shoots Hoops with Team GB(May 06, 2014)
Liverpool Walton MP Steve Rotheram received a masterclass from Team GB basketball stars this week during a special event in Parliament to promote the sport.
Great Britain men’s captain Drew Sullivan and Great Britain women’s national team star Johannah Leedham were on hand to show Steve some new ball skills, as well as to raise awareness of the recent successes of the national teams, as well as the potential of the sport to turn around the lives of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The successful event, organised by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Basketball, comes ahead of the launch of a new report from the APPG on the positive social impact of the sport within inner cities and deprived communities.
"As someone who grew up in London, I know how important the sport was back then and how it is even more important today,” explained British Basketball League star, Sullivan.
"For many young people, it gives them real focus and is a huge positive in their lives.
"I back what the APPG are doing because it’s important that we raise the profile of the sport at all levels and especially with some of the challenges currently being faced over funding," added the Leicester Riders’ favourite.
Leedham, who currently plays at the highest level of the women’s game in EuroLeague Women with Tango Bourges Basket and topped the assists chart at the prestigious EuroBasket Women 2013 added, “For me, basketball is a chance to give focus and direction - especially when young people encounter challenges in everyday life. It encourages discipline and structure, as well as being a precious outlet for releasing energy.
“Basketball did all of this for me while also being a means to develop my social and leadership skills. Basketball has given me opportunities and a life I could never have even imagined and without it, I really have no idea where I might have been today.”
Speaking after the event, Steve said, “As my constituents know, I'm a great believer is sport's power to be a leveller. It doesn't matter a person's soci-economic status of their academic qualifications - in sport, everyone is equal and everyone has the opportunity to express themselves.
"Routes into sports such as Basketball may be more difficult on this side of the Atlantic, but if its a sport that can inspire any person from Walton, to get active, get healthy and even to get competitive, then it has my backing.
"It was great to attend the APPG Basketball’s event and hear about the successes of basketball in the UK, as well as shoot some hoops with Team GB players.
“From what I heard today it’s clear that there’s a huge amount of untapped potential in the UK for basketball to flourish both as an elite level sport, and as a medium through which we can reach out to and boost the aspirations of young people from all kinds of backgrounds.
"I’m therefore looking forward to seeing the recommendations from the APPG’s report, and how they can be put into practice for the benefit of young people in Liverpool and across the country.”