Shaquille O'Neal in Trinidad for launch of "Hoop Of Life"!

The Government of Trinidad and Tobago surprised many when they introduced retired NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal to launch their new initiative to save the youth and bring back hope to depressed communities. The program is titled "Hoop of Life" and is one of the new initiatives by the PP government to bring about positive change in the lives of the youth of the country - tackle crime with Sports!
Of course, we will soon be hearing the criticisms related to this latest endeavor as it relates to the cost of bringing the NBA superstar for the launch of this initiative. However, none of this is new and should be expected. The goal of this program is to save the 'soul of the nation'. Now while many may describe this as a grain of sand on the beach it can also be seen as a positive step in the right direction - we can only hope and if one person can find the motivation to succeed like Shaq then it was well worth it... one person can make a big difference!

The following article in quotation was sourced from C Media Trinidad and Tobago:
"It was a 'slam dunk' for the Government on Saturday when basketball legend, Shaquille O'Neal, showed up with Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar at Beetham Gardens.

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar had a very special surprise for the residents of Phase Four Beetham Gardens in the form of the 7ft 1" American basketball star.

Dr. O'Neal was present to assist the Government in launching its new sporting initiative, The Hoop of Life, which is aimed at helping build communities and giving youths in troubled neighborhoods a constructive alternative to criminal activity.

The acclaimed sportsman spoke to the young people present, telling them that he came from a similar neighborhood but with hard work, he was able to leave behind a life of being a gangster.

"A positive attitude helped me get where I am now and anybody can do it because like I said, I am not the smartest, I may be a doctor, but I am not the smartest. It was my positive attitude. I did it. So little kids, listen to your parents, be a leader, not a follower. Believe in God and everything will be alright. It's going to take time like I started playing when I was 12 but I didn't get good until 20. So it took eight years of hard work."

The Prime Minister said a lot of planning and finances were put into this initiative which was developed by the Ministry of National Security to ensure that it will fully engage local youths.

The games begin on July 21st and players will have the opportunity to win prizes for their community.

The Prime Minister said, "Players are drawn from communities such as yours for recognition, valuable community projects, and winning cash prizes of $1 million, $500,000 and $250,000 will form the first, second, and third place prizes."

She also explained that community DJs and artistes will win prizes for their performances at the events."

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