Last weekend at St. Mary’s Park, located at 148th Street and St. Ann’s Avenue in the Bronx, the Kyrie Irving-Rod Strickland Summer Basketball League kicked off its 25th season.

Conceptualized by LaMarre Dyson, who has led the league since its inception as Rod Strickland-Steve Burrt (former Iona College basketball icon) Basketball League, the tournament is an integral part of New York youth basketball, attracting participants from all over the Tri-zone of the state. Games are played Saturdays and Sundays starting at 9 a.m., featuring the Itty-Biddy, Super Biddy, Biddy and Midget divisions.

“We’ve tried to stay consistent in what we do, in what works for us,” Dyson said late last week ahead of the weekend whistleblower. “Teams and programs know what to expect with us.” The league had an enforced hiatus in 2020 due to COVID-19, but returned last summer to a remodeled playground with new fiberglass panels Courtesy of the City’s Parks and Recreation Department New York City.

Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving was not at the league opener on Saturday, but his godfather, Bronx native Rod Strickland, a former NBA star and one of New York’s greatest point guards. York has ever produced, was on hand to interact with the youngster. the hoops. Drafted in the first round by the Knicks in 1988, Strickland is currently program director for Team Ignite of the NBA G League.

Dyson is the founder of Young Athletes Inc., a Bronx-based nonprofit organization operated out of IS 584 dedicated to serving disadvantaged youth. YAI offers programs during the school year, on Saturdays and in the summer. School year classes include digital photography, journalism, magazine publishing, robotics, chess, and art.