2012 Gardiner Memorial Classic Recap

The Bronx celebrated life through basketball this past weekend.

by Romel Lherisson Jr.

St. James Park in the Bronx was more crowded than the average Saturday and Sunday this past weekend. The reason was the 7th annual Gardiner Foundation Memorial Classic. The event was a fun filled weekend of unity and peace within the community.

There were several games played throughout the two days of the event. Some notable names were AND1 players Half Man Half Amazing, Future and NYC streetballer Africa. John Starks also tipped off the ball  in the first game of the event Saturday afternoon.

Basketball takes the back role in the event, however. It is more focused on helping the community and especially those families who lost family members to sudden and tragic deaths.

The inaugural year was set up to honor Dexter Gardiner’s mother and sister who died earlier that year. His twin brother contributed to the event until he and 5 other family members died in a car accident leaving the tournament that same evening in 2009.

Somehow, Dexter found enough strength to continue and keep the event going. He founded the Gardiner Foundation to help pay for funeral costs and show support to others dealing with similar situations. State Senator in the 33rd District Gustavo Rivera said, “I’ve always been supportive of the Gardiner Foundation and the efforts of Dexter,” as he paused for an amazing dunk. “Dexter is someone that took something negative and made it positive and brought something great to this community.“

The main supporter behind the Gardiner Foundation and the Gardiner Foundation Memorial Classic is Jeff Korek of the law firm Gersowitz, Libo and Korek (Lawyertime.com).

“We were in the same basketball league in Westchester and he was on the team and he handing out information to see if anyone wanted to help out with benefit. Instead of giving out 50 dollars or 20 dollars, I said let me speak to my boy and see if we can get behind in a big way and see if we can add to what he was already doing–showing a lot of love to the community,” Korek explained.

Additional supporters include Time Warner, Cablevision and other local businesses.

The Gardiner foundation annually gives out several gifts and prizes throughout both days of the event. This year the Gardiner Foundation agve out laptops, cameras, free food to everyone in attendance, backpacks filled with school supplies, and scholarships to college bound high school seniors. Plaques are also presented to community members who have lost loved ones, as well as burial assistance.

The championship game ended with smiles and cheers as the Bobby All-stars defeated the Kirk Flirt All-stars with Half Man Half Amazing as the MVP.

The event closed with an important message to all, and one we should all practice. “Tell everyone you love, that you love them today. Because there is no guarantee they will make it to tomorrow.”

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