Launch Event features Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg, NYPD Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell, Department of Youth and Community Development Leadership – plus New York Knicks Legend John Starks and Brooklyn Nets Legend Albert King
“Saturday Night Lights” will launch its citywide summer youth sports program at noon on Saturday, June 10, at Basketball City. This tips off weekly sports events that will be held throughout the summer at 136 locations across the five boroughs to engage young people in healthy, team building activities and to build trust between youth and law enforcement.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg Jr., NYPD Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell, and New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (“DYCD”) Commissioner Keith Howard will participate in the showcase event, along with hundreds of young New Yorkers. Featured guests will include New York Knicks Legend John Starks and Brooklyn Nets Legend Albert King through both the Knicks’ and Nets’ relationships with Saturday Night Lights and the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) support of the initiative. This support comes as part of the WE❤️NYC campaign where the NBA, the New York Knicks, the Brooklyn Nets as well as the other major sports leagues and their New York area teams are working together to engage and participate in events and activities that uplift communities throughout the city and contribute to the well-being of youth and their families.
“Saturday Night Lights is our signature youth violence prevention program,” said District Attorney Bragg. “Our city and law enforcement partners have worked side-by-side with us to enhance and expand access to free, high-quality sports for our young people – knowing that, particularly as we enter the summer months, it is more important than ever to have safe spaces for them to play, learn, and connect. This showcase highlights what we’re all about: bringing together stakeholders from every part of the city to support our young people and provide them with opportunities for growth. Thank you to Basketball City for hosting us, and most of all, to all of our participants!”
“A cornerstone of my vision for the NYPD over these past 17 months has been to build trust, strengthen relationships, and provide opportunities for youth across New York City,” said Police Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell. “I could not be more proud of the momentum that has taken hold so quickly, enabling a critical project like Saturday Nights Lights to flourish and grow in our communities. It is a magnificent undertaking – one to be celebrated for transforming public spaces into sanctuaries where young people can play, learn and dream.”
“When Mayor Adams invested in the expansion of Saturday Night Lights, we knew that getting on the same team with our city’s major sports franchises and city partners would be key to keeping young people safe on Saturday evenings, promoting fitness, and nurturing healthy relationships between youth and law enforcement,” said DYCD Commissioner Keith Howard. “Basketball has played a major role in my personal and professional development, and I know these opportunities to shoot hoops and participate in a variety of sports with the pros will be experiences they will never forget. A big thank you to Manhattan DA Bragg, NYPD, Knicks, Nets, and Partnership for New York City for being outstanding partners, and helping us kick off summer in a big way. WE❤NYC!”
“WE❤NYC is a campaign launched by Governor Kathy Hochul, Mayor Eric Adams, and the Partnership for New York City to inspire New Yorkers to step up to support their city. Saturday Night Lights is a great example of how city agencies and leaders in the sports world are stepping up to insure the city’s youth have access to all the opportunities New York has to offer,” said Kathryn Wylde, President & CEO of the Partnership for New York City.
Saturday Night Lights
Founded in 2011 by the Manhattan D.A.’s Office, Saturday Night Lights is a youth development program that connects young people through free, high-quality sports and fitness training. Saturday Night Lights empowers youth to develop healthy habits, skills, and meaningful relationships.
Saturday Night Lights started in one gym in West Harlem and expanded throughout all of Manhattan. In 2020, the Mayor’s Office – recognizing the benefits of the program – invested in expanding the program citywide through the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development. There are now 136 sites in operation across the five boroughs, including 30 sites in Manhattan. The NYPD and each of the City’s five district attorneys are directly involved in the Saturday Night Lights locations in their borough, using the programming as a platform for community engagement and violence prevention. The Knicks have partnered with the DYCD and YMCA on Saturday Night Lights programming across the city since February 2022.