"Basketball gave me my life."

 

At the age of 35, Tony Moore had a decision to make: continue doing what he was doing or make a clean break and become a new man. Moore chose the latter. “Basketball gave me my life,” Tony Moore says.

Moore’s decision to turn away from a life of drugs and crime and to pivot towards basketball has impacted more lives than just his own. His daughter now has a father. His community now has a voice that speaks with the experience of a life redeemed.  

Now, Moore’s journey in redemption through basketball takes him on a quest to qualify for (and succeed in) The Basketball Tournament. 

Shortly after he turned his life around, Moore took over a rec team called Jay Bee Auto Basketball Team. Two decades later, the team, which changed its name to the Kenosha Ballers three years ago, has become so dominant in the southeastern part of Wisconsin that it was kicked out of one league.

"Never in my life would I have imagined this," he said. "It started out as fun, to keep kids out of trouble. Basketball fits right in with what I do now. It helps me stay focused on my life so I continue to give back. When I help others, I help myself." 

From 1995-2003, Jay Bee went 180-0 in city league play. They captured titles across the country from Illinois to Kentucky and South Carolina to Louisiana -- where they finished first in the highly regarded Tournament of Stars in Lake Charles in back-to-back years (2004-05). 

In 2012, the Kenosha Ballers joined the Independent Basketball Associaton (IBA), and are currently 5-0 in the current spring season. Moore will add a few big men to his roster, but will bring the same squad to The Basketball Tournament Midwest Regional (Chicago).

"For whatever reason [our area has] been overlooked for many, many, many years," Moore said. "Caron Butler is from this area. Nick Van Exel is from this area. Terry Porter is from this area. There is a lot of talent here. But for whatever reason we haven’t gotten the opportunity to get that exposure.”

"I know that chemistry that we have. I don’t worry how big they are or what alumni team they are," Moore says. "We have the same chance as everyone else. We tie our shoes up the same way everyone else does."

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