NY hoops team aim to inspire

03:00, Feb 13 2013
Joseph Dorsett-Jeffreys
Big boy: Joseph Dorsett-Jeffreys stretches his 2.1 metre frame to lift Boston Teio, 5, to the basket at Crawshaw School yesterday.

Basketball player Aaron "The Problem" Williams would still be on the streets of Westchester County, New York, if it wasn't for the game he loves.

Growing up he dreamed of a career in the NBA, but more than anything else, basketball offered him a way out.

"It was an escape for me from the streets, from not doin' nothing," he says.

Williams, along with New York team-mates Dave Seagers and 2.1-metre-tall Joseph Dorsett-Jeffreys, were in Hamilton yesterday, speaking to children at Crawshaw School about the opportunities basketball can provide.

"We help kids out . . . we're giving opportunities for kids coming up without too many options."

Williams grew up "without a lot", and said basketball was his biggest inspiration. As co-founder and star player with street basketball team Team 914, Williams has made a career out of showing kids with backgrounds like his that there is more to life than hanging on the streets and with gangs.

The New York team, who are touring New Zealand, were brought out by There's a Better Way, a charitable trust started by Glen Green three years ago.

Mr Green, 42, described himself as a "troubled youth", and was inspired by basketball in the same way Williams was when he was younger.

"There's a Better Way is a platform where we as the people of New Zealand can come together to find better ways to work with our youth."