Arn Tellem (back row, left) shakes hands with William Strickland, (back row, right), at an event announcing a new community basketball league in partnership with Detroit PAL. (Credit: MI Blues Perspectives). If you ask 13-year-old William Strickland where he's headed after finishing his education, he'll answer without hesitation -- "to the NBA." For now, he's focused on doing the best he can by playing center as a member of the Detroit Police Athletic League House Basketball program. A student at ASPIRE Academy in Southfield, Strickland is one of the more than 2,100 children expected to benefit from a new recreational basketball league in the City of Detroit through a partnership with the Detroit Pistons. Palace Sports and Entertainment Vice Chairman Arn Tellem announced today a $300,000 contribution that will be used to create and operate the league, which is the first of its kind in the city. The funds will help widen the reach of the current basketball instruction, mentoring and leadership development offered by PAL, which pairs trained volunteers and Detroit Police officers with the city's youth. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Police Chief James Craig, PAL Chief Executive Officer Tim Richey and former Pistons Rick Mahorn, James Edwards and Earl Cureton were among those on hand for the announcement held at the Patton Recreation Center in southwest Detroit. Like many of the children involved in PAL, Strickland says he's learned about a lot more than just basketball from his experience. "You learn how to work with different people. How to work as a team," said Strickland. The new league means more players, and that's good news for Strickland. "I'm excited to see the team grow." During the event, Detroit PAL Chief Executive Officer Tim Richey credited the support of partners like the Detroit Pistons for helping ensure every child has an opportunity to participate. "I can't imagine what this is going to mean for these young people. The best is yet to come," said Richey. Details about registration and locations for the new league are expected to be announced in the coming weeks. For more information visit www.detroitpal.org. [gallery ids="11867,11868,11869,11871,11872,11862"] Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is a proud partner of the Detroit Pistons and Detroit PAL, and encourages kids to engage in healthy activities like basketball through its #MIKidsCan campaign. BCBSM is also a presenting sponsor of the Paul W. Smith Golf Classic, the single-largest annual fundraiser for PAL, as well as Hooper's Birthday celebration at the Palace of Auburn Hills on Jan. 9, 2016. If you enjoyed this blog, you might be interested in reading:
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