- Mentor Advocate Spotlight: Jerame McNeal Sr of Louisiana United Basketball

We understand it is not feasible for everyone to commit to mentoring as a part of The Mentoring Project's programs, but if you would like to get involved in this cause in some manner, there is good news. You can advocate creatively! Several TMProject advocates have chosen to participate in rewriting the story of fatherlessness through a variety of creative approaches. Some have chosen to financially support TMProject by donating royalties from book sales, board games sales and ticket sales. Others have rode their bicycles across the country to speak about the mission of The Mentoring Project. 

Which brings us to our feature story today: 

Jerame McNeal Sr, General Manager of Team Louisiana United in this summer's TBT Basketball Tournament on ESPN, recently reached out to ask if he and his team could highlight The Mentoring Project and our cause on this national stage. 

The Basketball Tournament (TBT) claims to be the most intense competition in the world - a winner take all battle, featuring several pro, semi-pro and post collegiate players, worth 2 million in prize money and bragging rights. Anyone can enter a team, and fans determine who plays and share in the prize. 

As the team's General Manager, Jerame has assembled quite the squad this year. One of these guys spent time playing with the New Orleans Pelicans in the NBA, and several others have played professional ball and been successful overseas. 

This is a competition Jerame has participated in the last couple years. This year's motivation is a little different, though. In preparation for the event, Jerame recounts: 

"I was lying in bed one night and thought about how at the age of 31, I have never met my father. So I decided to search for a charity that deals with mentoring kids that have never met their fathers, and I happened to run across The Mentoring Project...I believe children are the future and I feel it is a duty of ours to help pour positive energy into them." 

Jerame's personal history with the game of basketball has lead him to this moment. You could say basketball was a bit of a mentor to him. 

"As far as being mentored as a kid, I didn't have a mentor personally. I would use the game of basketball to bring me peace and offer me a safe haven outside of home. For me, basketball was my outlet to view the world from a different point of view...I plan to spread this important message of relational mentoring through the game that I love dearly. I want to show the youth team unity, believing in one another and the will to fight and never give up on the court. These are principles that can be applied off the court as well" says McNeal.  

We are thrilled to root on Jerame and Team Louisiana United as they pursue a dream that's bigger than basketball and the title of champion - rewriting the fatherless story through mentoring. 

Join us in tuning into their first game on Saturday, July 14 at 9am EDT on Watch ESPN. 

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You can find out more details about The Basketball Tournament and Team Louisiana United HERE