Baton Rouge basketball coach keeping kids out of gangs for 30 years
BATON ROUGE - It's Thursday evening practice for Showtime basketball, but coach Murray Tate is here to do more than run a basketball team.
"The younger I think I get them, the more they can be held accountable for whatever actions are going on," Tate said.
Going on 30 years of coaching, Tate has seen some successes, including having Showtime's own Javonte Smart play in the NBA.
But his real triumph, he says, is keeping his players off the streets.
"The goal of Showtime is to make the kids that I coach productive citizens so they can be held accountable for not just themselves but their other teammates as well."
With the overwhelming temptation of the gang lifestyle calling to many Baton Rouge kids, Tate hopes his players can find that sense of belonging with the team.
"Everybody wants to be involved in something, be it a gang or whatever, well this is your gang right here, Showtime, that's your gang. You watch out for one another. If you need help with homework, if you got a problem going on in your household or yourself, you talk to each other. That's your family."
However, despite doing everything he can to keep his kids from turning to a life of crime, he couldn't have prevented what happened to his own son, and player, Jamison.
"Jamison started here at three. It'll be four years since his death August 23."
Jamison was shot to death while helping his friend move. His murder is still unsolved.
"Sometimes, you know, for whatever reason, you may be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and maybe somebody may see you and have an old grudge against you."
Since then, Tate has made it clear to his player's parents that both they and their kids can talk to him about anything and vice versa.
"Just talk to them. Have an open line of communication with your child. They may not want to talk to you. Make them talk. That's your kid."
And that no matter what is happening at home, there's always a home for them at Showtime.
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