Wisconsin Badgers assistant coach Howard Moore is making a difference off the basketball court.
A great story out of the Wisconsin State Journal, Wisconsin Badgers men’s basketball assistant coach Howard Moore is actively fighting the current violence and troubling issues in his hometown of Chicago, Illinois.
Moore has worked for the Badgers’ basketball program for eight years and is entering his third season under current head coach Greg Gard. He is seen as a mentor for his players and is often someone they can turn to for anything, specifically non-basketball related. Being someone who is there for his program and players, Moore is also looking to give back to where he came from.
Stemming from Chicago’s west side, Moore has always known of the gang and violence problems in the city, as many do, but as years go on- the lingering problem continues to widen and become harder to ignore.
“If I was living in the city, I wouldn’t let my kids play at the playground and that’s a shame,” Moore told the Wisconsin State Journal. “That’s one of the biggest heartbreakers is the sense of community has been destroyed.”
Moore is married to his wife Jennifer and has one son (Jerrell) and one daughter (Jaidyn).
He spent his playing years at the University of Wisconsin before bouncing around the coaching carousel, his most recent a head coaching gig at Illinois-Chicago before re-joining the Badgers for the second time.
While Moore has always had a voice around his community and the respect of others’ attention, this weekend will be a chance to address the overwhelming problem in a city so many people call home.
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On Saturday, Moore will kick off the third ever “Legends Take Back the Streets” event at Collins Academy High School near where he grew up. The event will run both days this weekend and will be highlighted by former players participating in basketball games as well as youth camps and drills.
The main purpose of the gathering, though, is to start a conversation on the troubles in Chicago and to come up with an active solution to help all involved.
“We have people criticize us saying, ‘What does basketball have to do with what’s going on in the streets?’ I’ve heard that on social media and a few telling me to my face,” Moore told the Chicago Tribune. “My response is, hey, if nothing else we have kids in the gym for a few hours, and it probably saved one or two of these people’s lives because they were in a gym playing basketball and they weren’t focused on something negative or hurting someone or being hurt.”
Other athletes have been in the spotlight before talking about these issues. One year ago, Chicago Bulls star Dwyane Wade lost his sister due to gun violence in the city. Using his platform, Wade spoke out about the problems and used this tragedy to help shed light on possible solutions.
“It would be easy to say, ‘My family and I live up in Wisconsin now. This is somebody else’s problem,'” he said. “But Chicago will always be my home. I’m a proud Chicagoan. I’m a proud West Side resident. It hurts me to hear people talk about my city who don’t really know my city.”