Since Get Set Leeds Local (GSLL) began, we have loved meeting the huge number of people across the South Leeds communities taking part, volunteering and leading a huge variety of activities each week which get themselves or others moving in some way. We feel these people are all ‘heroes’ and an inspiration to us and others.
With the help from some GSLL friends, every month we are meeting and sharing a little about some of these ‘Move More Heroes’.
This month we caught up with The Swish Kings aka Dante and Ziah, 11 year old boys who wanted to encourage and inspire young people to get active through basketball.
We first met Dante and Ziah back in March when they got in touch with Get Set Leeds Local with their great idea to organise a 3 v 3 basketball tournament for children their age. We love working with young leaders, so of course we said yes.
Can you tell us a little about yourselves?
We’re Dante and Ziah and are both 11 years old. We have both always participated in many sports from a young age but started playing basketball at the age of 8. We both currently play for the U12 Lets Do More basketball team and have both been at the Aspire camps run by Basketball England, to participate in training to hopefully play for the North of England.
Have you participated in other sports?
Dante: “I’ve done Karate, Catalan football and swimming. More recently I’ve done Go Karting and qualified for the regional British Indoor Go Karting Championships, and I roller skate. My favourite though is Basketball.”
How did you come up with the idea of a tournament?
“The idea came from a conversation we had” said Ziah. “We wanted to do more for the children that are our age in Leeds for Basketball, we liked this idea and thought let’s go! We asked for help from Get Set Leeds Local who gave us funding and support, and we spoke to our team Coach Mo and Director Loran from Let’s Do More. After a month of working on designs and ideas together the ‘Swish Tournament’ was developed.”
Dante explained the aim of the tournament is “to encourage U14s across Leeds to get involved with some physical activity and improve their mental health. We wanted to put on a tournament for our age and make it fun.
“We wanted a tournament which is aspirational and encouraging for new and existing players. Although you sign up as an individual, you are placed in a team of 3 to keep the game competitive and balanced based on experience. The tournament was open to anyone who is U12 or U14 and wants to play Basketball.”
What’s your favourite parts of the game?
Dante: “Shaking hands and having good sportsmanship with the other team.”
Ziah: “My favourite part is feeling free when I play. I also like working out how to get the ball to my teammates to score.”
What do you most enjoy about basketball?
Dante: “Having fun with the team and winning.”
Ziah: “I love watching live games. The atmosphere is fun and I like studying what the best players do and see if I can do those moves.”
Where did the term Swish come from in your tournament name?
Swish refers to the sweet noise the ball makes as it goes through the basketball hoop cleanly, without hitting the ring.
You had lots of ideas you wanted to make sure were included in the tournament, can you tell us a little about a couple of them?
We wanted it to be inclusive for boys and girls to come and join in. We wanted there to be music, along with t-shirts for everyone, vouchers as prizes and there to be food. We produced our own flyers, Instagram posts and TikTok’s. We were on TV and radio it was amazing!
The first Swish Basketball Tournament took place in July. What did you most enjoy about the day?
Dante: “I enjoyed everyone’s good reviews and all sorts. Everyone was happy and it was great to see everyone having fun. The day was so good. It was a big success.
“Thanks to everyone who helped us, Let’s Do More, Get Set Leeds Local. Emerald Isle Seasoning and Rae of Sunshine candyfloss for the food.”
Have you had any sporting moments which feel the most rewarding?
Ziah: “I think the tournament was rewarding because so many people came to join in and I felt proud. I also like it when people watching my games or watching me train give me feedback and say nice things to me about how I play.”
Dante: “Playing against the Harlem Globe Trotters at First Direct Arena and playing on the new basketball court in Beeston off Dewsbury Road.”
We’d love to host another tournament next year and make it bigger and better.
Many thanks to Dante and Ziah for coming to GSLL with their ‘good idea’, and for sharing their journeys with us. At a young age, they’re already champions, wanting to support and encourage others to enjoy and participate in something they feel so passionate about. They really are Move More Heroes!
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