Two coaches, 12 players and a continued fight for justice through basketball

Published: Jul. 9, 2021 at 4:52 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 9, 2021 at 9:45 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Two fathers, activists and coaches formed a team.

It’s called the Breeway Warriors, dedicated to continuing the fight for justice started with the movement Breonna Taylor inspired, and the fight in their community for more peace and less violence.

The players’ jump shots could help score them a positive path in life.

Some athletes play for fun; others are trying to play professionally. The Warriors play for all of that and more at Lannan Park. Their story starts with Taylor, to whom coaches Bruce Sweeney and Gary Morris said they felt connected.

”We’re from the inner city,” Morris said. “We deal with struggles with police brutality and things. The story of Breonna Taylor hit home.”

Sweeney and Morris were active protesters with their sons last year. Sweeney took a hoop to the home court of the protests each day. Now they bring boys to the court as the Warriors keep two movements going.

”We don’t want them to be the next one,” Morris said. “They could easily be the next one.”

The coaches said they’re fighting two injustices: racial injustice and violence in their community. Sweeney said one of their players, Demetri Rhodes, never got to play on Breonna’s court. He was shot and killed the day it opened.

”We want to make sure that we don’t lose another life or another kid,” Sweeney said. “We want to bring everyone together because at the end of the day, the kids are the future and they’re all we got right now.

“I don’t want them to ever have to go through what I went through. I’ve been in and out of jail. I’ve been locked up multiple times due to the movement. I’ve been kicked off a basketball team. I’ve made teams, lost multiple jobs. I don’t want them to go down the roads I’ve been through. I feel like me and coach Gary already made the mistake for them.”

For players Keshawn Johnson, Garion Morris and Bruce Sweeney III, no matter how tired, frustrated, challenged they are, like the movement on her court, they keep going.

”It makes us feel good cause to play on this court,” Sweeney III said. “When we hoop, we get to see her face that we all love.”

”I just want them to grow, be the best man, the best father, the best gospel man, the best whatever they can be in life,” Sweeney said. “Because it’s always worth a shot.”

“This is another positive outlet to getting justice for Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, David McAtee,” Johnson said.

The Warriors have a game Saturday at the Mid America Sports Center. To keep going, they need sponsors, cheerleaders and players of all ages and genders. They are also looking for tutors and career coaches.

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