Basketball tournament honors murder victim
Published: September 11, 2013
Font size: [A] [A] [A]
ST. CROIX - Members of the Allen D. Burke Foundation are preparing to host its Memorial 5-on-5 Basketball Tournament this weekend featuring the talents of close to 200 young basketball players.
This year, the tournament will begin Friday and wrap up Sunday, the day that would have been Allen Burke's 24th birthday.
He was only 18 years old when he was shot to death in a common area of JFK housing community just after midnight on Christmas morning 2007.
The shooting that killed Allen and 33-year-old Kenyetta McIntosh and wounded four others, sent shock waves through the community and was compounded when V.I. Police Officer Jeffrey Browne and his brother-in-law Luis Melendez were arrested and charged with the murders, multiple assaults and weapon possession.
A'Jada Burke, Allen's younger sister, said since the inaugural tournament last year, there has been a tremendous amount of interest in the tournament, and she is grateful for the people interested in preserving Allen's memory and keeping alive his love for basketball and passion for life.
In 2008, the family pooled money together and awarded its first $500 scholarship in Allen's memory and presented additional awards during the last year. The family hopes the foundation will grow into fulfilling its purpose of helping youth in the community to explore their talents, build team-working capabilities and hone their leadership skills, according to A'Jada Burke.
"Allen loved basketball and had been scheduled to go on a full scholarship to Florida Memorial University just one week after his death," she said. "The fact that his dreams were cut short is significant to us, and we want to stay connected and try to be at least a steppingstone for another young man with the same love for basketball."
A'Jada Burke said the family has continued to heal through working on the projects of the foundation and has been joined by dozens of Allen's friends in pursuing the foundation's mission.
She said there were 120 players in the one-day tournament last year and now there are 180 young people spread out on 18 teams in the three-day tournament. The new teams include two teams from the St. Thomas-St. John District.
Friday's events begin with a 5:30 p.m. opening ceremony and will continue with games into the night. Games continue Saturday and Sunday, starting at 9 a.m.
In addition to winner's bracket-type tournament, there will also be entertainment by reggae artist Pressure, Daddy Jones and the Crew, Pumpa, Kenya Eugene, DJ Karl and Big Kyat Sounds.
There will be a guest appearance from Nate "Tiny" Archibald, retired American professional basketball player with the Kansas City Kings and Boston Celtics, who was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1991. He is the only player to lead the league in scoring and assists in the same season.
A'Jada Burke said Archibald heard of the foundation through a family member and agreed to make an appearance to support the youth and the community.
"We have number of great people coming out to be a part of this event to help make it a success, so we want the community to come out too," A'Jada Burke said.
Admission to the tournament is $1 for children and $3 for adults. There will be food and drinks on sale to help generate funds to support the foundation and its future scholarship awards.
For more information contact Allen D. Burke Foundation Inc on Facebook; email email@example.com or call 513-2651 or 773-2651.
- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.