South Kilburn (SK) Enterprise Award winners and South Kilburn Studios tenants, the London Basketball Association (LBA), could quite easily be an organisation you would assume just provides basketball activities. There is, however, a reason why they are SK Enterprise Award winners, hold the ‘Active Westminster Club Mark and the London Youth Gold Quality Mark among other prestigious awards and accolades; behind the basketball sessions (both for youth and adults) there is an impressive commitment to improving people's lives through basketball and some amazing achievements.
The Trust spoke to LBA Founder, Tony Lazare, about the LBA and the great work Tony and his team are doing in South Kilburn and beyond.
“After the London 2012 Olympics and attending a number of the basketball events there, I made a decision to help people through basketball. Basketball needed a lot of help and still needs a lot of help with the infrastructure across the nation. I had done many sports before but basketball was always my number one choice since I was a teenager. I decided to hone in on this passion as I thought I could really make a difference,” says Tony about his inspiration to work in the sport.
It is clear in his commitment to his work that there is a real passion for bridging the gaps and shortfalls in the sport. This much-needed focus serves a growing desire for young people to get into the sport professionally. Tony goes on to say that he has noticed that basketball is “becoming very popular in mainstream schools” and this popularity continues to grow year-on-year. “Basketball is accessible”, Tony says and "it is attractive in uniting communities because, like football, it’s a sport that is cheap to play, thus making it affordable and attractive”.
Just how does Basketball improve the lives of those that play it? Tony answers; “It's more about using basketball as a tool to instil valuable characteristics as well as morals and values such as consistency, competitiveness, great sportsmanship, leadership, camaraderie, strategising…to name a few. With this said you become healthier, you can get scholarships and you can network with many people who expose you to opportunities you would not have otherwise received.”
Needless to say that this is LBA’s approach to creating marked improvements in the lives of the people they work with. This approach landed LBA its Gold Quality Mark from London Youth, which is also the reason they were invited to Buckingham Palace to meet the Queen.
“The prince has been supporting London Youth for over 70 years, since he will be resigning from public events, he partnered with London Youth to create a youth-oriented event at the Buckingham Palace Gardens for the afternoon to say his ‘thank you’s’ and to meet some of the young people and organisations he's supported over the years,” says Tony about his recent Royal visit.
Closer to home, Tony speaks passionately about how LBA engages the South Kilburn community. “We would like to see ourselves as role models and motivate others to see that they can also make it happen by being friendly and always professional, we try to encourage this way of being in others”. Just how much work and effort do the team at LBA put in? Tony goes on to say “we have sessions for just about every holiday, and during term time, where young people can come in and take part in physical activity in a positive environment.”
Needless to say the South Kilburn Trust support and join LBA in urging the community to get involved in LBA’s events and activities. One such event is the accredited basketball coaching course where candidates also have the opportunity to train up to become qualified referees or table officials. This is a brand new programme for LBA with the first course starting in the 2017 Summer Holidays. In addition, signing up also gets participants access to 13 other courses such as first aid, child protection and food hygiene to name a few.
Further to this, LBA is connecting qualified people to a platform with paid work opportunities. With most of their activities and programmes being FREE this is an unmissable opportunity.
If you’ve ever considered basketball professionally, Tony gave us 3 valuable tips to playing professional Basketball.
1. In order to play at a professional level at some point, you're going to have to realise that you have to enjoy the basic's (repetition of the fundamentals of the game) and train effectively (limited time wasting), which ultimately allows you to become a great basketball player.
2. I would say you're going to have to have a great attitude and be coachable. You must also continue to understand that you are an individual so bring your style of game into action. When the time comes for you to step onto the court, you can play and systems coaches want you to play.
3. Lastly, become an athlete as early as possible.
For more information about LBA's programme and how to get involved visit www.theLBA.co.uk. To find out what events the LBA are running in July and August in South Kilburn check our What’s on Guide here. Follow South Kilburn Trust on Twitter; @sktrustnw6, Facebook; southkilburnnw6 and Instagram; @sktrust to stay up to date with programmes, events and news.
MAIN IMAGE: The Mayor of Brent (Left) presents Tony (Right) with the Entrepreneur of the Year Award at the South Kilburn Enterprise Awards 2017.