Bounce is the premier basketball magazine, covering the NBA, NCAA, High School, Playground and International basketball - as well as sneakers, fashion and music.
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STREET DOGMA Verbals: Acamea Deadwiler and Sean Couch / Visuals: Amanda Deadwilder SONNY PARKER Amid the Violence, Sonny Parker stays committed as a defender of Chicago's Basketball Playing Youth. With 22 people shot in a 24-hour period one weekend in May of 2010, it's no secret that gang-related violence in Chicago is escalating. As city councilmen point fi ngers at Hip-Hop and professors of major universities try to get youth to understand how social infl uences affect behavior, the new generation of ball players, whose culture is built on Hip- Hop and basketball, is under attack. In 2008 alone, 23 public school students were killed and a citywide workshop for public school students run by Lance Williams, a professor from Northern Illinois University sponsored by the Chicago Council on Urban Affairs, was set up "to help students understand how Hip-Hop music and culture infl uences their perception of issues ranging from school and their community to crime and violence." 26 THE INNOVATIONS One man with insight is Sonny Parker, a former NBA draft choice who has been part of the Chicago youth basketball scene for over 25 years. He formed the Sonny Parker Youth Foundation (SPYF) to encourage kids not to cave in to gang-related peer pressure and that the term "sold out" is a term used to hurt the youth of Chicago. Bounce sat down with him to get his viewpoint on this nationwide problem. Bounce: Many people are aware of the gang violence in the city, but very few choose to do anything about it. What inspired you to create SPYF and get involved? Sonny Parker: Mainly the fact that I grew up in the area, I grew up on the west side of Chicago with the gangs. It was pretty rough back then but nothing like it is now. Nobody was getting shot or killed, you were getting chased! You were getting beat up! It's different now. Why do you think gangs have become so prevalent in the Chicago area? SP: What happened is, when they started tearing down housing projects [where the gangs were concentrated] a lot of families were displaced. This allowed kids with this lifestyle to infi ltrate other neighborhoods. It's no longer contained to one area. How do you think this has affected the basketball scene? SP: The peer pressure and quick money is very infl uential. It's hard for a kid to focus