“We all want to be healthy, and sometimes we have to be reminded.” –Steve Koonin, CEO of Atlanta Hawks
Staying fit can be a challenging task, especially with hectic schedules. However, the Atlanta Hawks and Sharecare won’t allow people to forget the importance of their health and well-being.
On Saturday, April 14 at Central Park, the Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club partnered with Sharecare for the inaugural Sharecare Heartbeat Festival and citywide 3 vs. 3 tournament.
Along with basketball, the Atlanta Hawks pride themselves on providing the Atlanta community with the reconstruction of courts, creating programs, scholarships, and giving the people of Atlanta the true Hawks experience.
Steve Koonin, the CEO of the Hawks for the past four years says, “We made a promise to the community that they matter to us.”
As to why the festival and 3 vs. 3 tournament took place at Central Park, Koonin mentions that the courts are filled with people every day. His hope for the event was to involve the community with the Hawks and connect them with the organization.
Well, the event was a success as youth and adults gathered for a day of self-care and physical activity.
Sharecare president Dawn Whaley says that the purpose of the inaugural festival and 3 vs. 3 tournament event was to “bring share and care alive in the community.”
“You have to have a high touch. Sharecare is very happy and privileged to be working with a partner like the Atlanta Hawks,” Whaley said.
Sharecare partnered with the Ronald McDonald House to help those who don’t have access to care for their asthma, American Heart Association to teach CPR, free yoga classes, Zumba classes, and the 3 vs. 3 tournament.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a 3 vs. 3 tournament without some of the Atlanta Hawks players there.
DeAndré Bembry, John Collins, Taurean Prince and Isaiah Taylor were all in attendance for the festivities. Joining them were Hawks alumni Kevin Willis and Dominique Wilkins and prominent figures like Councilman Amir R. Farokhi of District 2 and Sharecare co-founder Jeff Arnold.
“I didn’t have a lot of places like this where I could come and play at the park, so having a basketball court for some of the younger kids means a lot,” said small forward Bembry.
Bembry says that the youth attending the event are benefiting by having someone to look up to as a role model.
Taurean Prince, small forward for the Atlanta Hawks, says not only does the youth benefit from the festival and 3 vs. 3 tournament but so does the Atlanta community as a whole. “The Atlanta community has an outlet and somewhere to go to ease their mind,” Prince said. Prince’s favorite part was seeing the many faces that showed up to the festival that Sharecare and the Atlanta Hawks put together. “The community showed that they’re behind the Atlanta Hawks and Sharecare, and we’re behind them,” Prince adds.
Vice president of basketball development, Jon Babul, managed the 3 vs. 3 tournament that drew over 200 people of various ages. “Everything in youth basketball now is tuition-based, even in school. The Atlanta Hawks understand that not everyone in Atlanta can afford to play basketball, so the ownership is providing these opportunities for the youth,” Babul said. “We’re building bridges in the community of Atlanta through the sport of basketball.”
Even though this is the first citywide 3 vs. 3 tournament, Koonin hopes that the event will recur in the future along with a special touch.
“I’m hoping we have our championship trophies on display so all of Atlanta can take their pictures with it,” Koonin said.
The Atlanta Hawks and Sharecare continue to give the community opportunities to have fun and build health awareness.