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CHICAGO MIDNIGHT BASKETBALL LEAGUE TIPS-OFF 1993 SUMMER SEASON WITH NIKE AS MAJOR SPONSOR

 CHICAGO, June 3 /PRNewswire/ -- NIKE Inc., the world's leading sports and fitness company, and one of the country's premier public basketball leagues are now teammates, NIKE said. The Chicago Housing Authority's Midnight Basketball League and NIKE announced a partnership today during a press conference at Chicago's NIKE TOWN store.
 Midnight Basketball is a recreational program which targets young men between the ages of 17 and 25 who reside in public housing areas. In addition to games held twice weekly between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., the program offers social service options and educational components for its participants. This year's Chicago league will feature players from the Ida B. Wells and Altgeld Gardens housing developments.
 "Frankly put, Midnight Basketball is a meaningful, positive alternative to what the streets have to offer young men at night," said Vince Lane, chairman of the Chicago Housing Authority. "You can credit the Midnight Basketball concept with providing physical fitness; social intervention; economic development; and personal services for the participants -- with basketball as a key attraction."
 NIKE will provide more than 300 pairs of shoes for participants in this summer's program, representing a commitment of more than $30,000 in support of the league.
 "Few new concepts linking sports with education and life skills rival Midnight Basketball," said Michael Lewellen, NIKE's Urban and Minority Affairs manager. "Having existed for more than three years, the Chicago program has quickly become the standard by which other programs around the country are measured. We are pleased to be providing some much-needed support for this league."
 The Midnight Basketball concept has now spread to more than 35 cities, thanks to the formulation of the National Association of Midnight Basketball Leagues (NAMBL). But an even larger leap to prominence could come from federal legislation introduced in Congress recently by Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun, D-Ill., and Rep. Pat Schroeder, D.-Colo.
 Unveiled as the "Midnight Basketball Training and Partnership Act," the legislation asks that $3 million be set aside annually to support Midnight Basketball programs through the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development's Youth Sports Programs.
 "I am very proud to be the champion of this bill in the U.S. Senate," said Moseley-Braun. "With Pat Schroeder's help in the House of Representatives, I am working very hard to bring this legislation to a timely passage and on to President Clinton for his signature."
 "Midnight Basketball has caught on nationally, and we hope that Congress provides the financial shot in the arm that we need to keep this effort going," said Gil Walker, commissioner of the Chicago League and Executive Director of NAMBL. "It's more than simply basketball to keep young men off the streets. Through our Life Management Workshops; Motivational Seminars; Support Services; and Employment Training, we give these young men a chance at success."
 The Chicago Midnight Basketball League is fashioned after the National Basketball Association (NBA), including team names; NBA-style uniforms; and a season-ending All-Star Game which features slam dunk and three-point shooting competitions. Several Chicago-area businesses are sponsors of league teams.
 -0- 6/3/93
 /CONTACT: Michael Lewellen of NIKE, 503-671-6453; or Kristin Anderson of the Chicago Housing Authority, 312-791-8513/


CO: NIKE Inc.; Chicago Housing Authority ST: Illinois IN: SU:

LM-SG -- SE002 -- 5006 06/03/93 13:00 EDT
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Date:Jun 3, 1993
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