NEWARK, NJ - Mayor Ras J. Baraka and the Newark Municipal Council teamed with Newark native and NBA basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal to host, “Believe in Newark 3 on 3” Basketball Tournament for high-school age youth championship games Saturday on Broad Street, in front of City Hall.

After so many high-profile crime stories, this event was clearly an attempt to bring attention the the great things going on in Newark. During the post-game press conference the Mayor spoke introspectively concerning the need to balance attention on those young people on the ‘right path’  (like the basketball players) with those that may be going afoul of the law. He concluded events like the ‘Shaq Tournament’ promote the benefits of positive activities over the negative attention youths receive from crime and other illicit activities.

“We are grateful to Newark native, NBA legend, and business entrepreneur Shaquille O’Neal for his continued commitment to the City of his birth, its people, and our continued transformation. His support has been seen at the economic level with the revitalization of our Multiplex Theater on Springfield Avenue and the construction of the first luxury apartment building in our downtown in 50 years. His commitment to our residents is being seen in tournaments like this one, which enable our youth to become city-wide stars, while learning valuable life lessons about teamwork, discipline, and sportsmanship. This is the kind of youth activity we want to see in our streets, and I look forward to joining all of my neighbors and fellow Newarkers – including Shaquille O’Neal – to cheer on these future hoops stars” said Mayor Baraka.

"We are proud to support wonderful events like this which really showcase Newark while bringing together the Community and our Children. Newark's greatness will be realized by more events like this that highlight the uniqueness and diversity of our City. We thank Reebok’s incredible generosity for Mayor Baraka’s wonderful initiative showcasing our Great City of Newark,” said Shaquille O’ Neal.