While their parents grew up in Somalia, where soccer was the sport of choice, young Somali American athletes spend their childhoods in the urban areas of North America, where basketball is king, and there's a public court in almost every neighborhood.
From left, San Diego's Hashim Ahmed, Mohamud Abdi and Aden Aden discuss a play during the Hoop for Hope Somali Basketball League annual tournament at Roosevelt High School in Minneapolis on Thursday, June 28, 2012.
MPR Photo/Jeffrey Thompson
As MPR's Nikki Tundel reports, the Twin Cities Somali Basketball League is helping to build community and prevent gang violence. It has some other social benefits, too:
As players zip across the court, hundreds of fans cheer them on. Much of the encouragement comes from the teenage girls who've taken over the far end of the stands.
"I came here to support the guys and watch them play," one said. She turned to her friends. "Why'd you guys come here today?" The girls respond with laughter.
Their giggling seems to be directed at Abdul Mohamud, a Burnsville, Minn., player whose team just beat tournament favorite Toronto in overtime.
"They want me to go sit by them," Mohamud admitted. "But I'm too smelly right now!"
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