Greenpoint native Rick Atson is on a mission to help local kids. In 2010, Atson founded a Greenpoint-based non-profit basketball program for boys ages eight to eighteen years old that is completely free for all participants. He called it 5 Boros Basketball.
Atson said, “The program is and has always been based out of Greenpoint. But the program is not limited to Greenpointers. I have now and have always had players from all five New York City boroughs, hence the name 5 Boros.”
Atson told Greenpointers that he has lived in the neighborhood his entire life and graduated from P.S. 126. He also went to P.S. 110, where his wife currently works.
Atson has also coached basketball for over twenty years. “I played basketball growing up, but, not the way these kids play,” continued Atson.
One of the kids from the program now plays for the Detroit Pistons, and several are on college basketball scholarships. Even Atson’s son Travis surpassed his skill level, now playing basketball in Europe. Atson said that he did not start 5 Boros solely for his son. He truly wants to help all New York City kids.
In the name of helping, Atson is not shy about asking for donations. His goal is to keep the program free for all participants. He refuses to “tell a kid they can’t play because they don’t have money.”
Atson said, “I started it in 2010, We have been 100% free since we started and still remain that way. Of course, there are many basketball and youth programs in the city, but not many that are 100% free to the participants.”
Sponsors who have helped Atson and the program range from larger companies like Broadway Stages, a production company that has helped other Greenpoint neighbors, to Greenpoint residents like Sonny Mooks, a local who is “a great guy who loves to help his community and the kids in it” as affectionately written on the 5 Boros website.
Atson told Greenpointers, “it would be awesome to get some big corporate sponsors, but we are just as happy to get some smaller ones.”
5 Boros Basketball is entering the program’s thirteenth season with about 65 kids. Atson said that anywhere between 50 to 60 kids are in one gym at a time because he refuses to turn them away. He is especially thankful for St. Nick’s Alliance that provided an extra night of gym time because the program has grown so much.
Donations can be made directly on the 5 Boros website. 100% of donations go directly to helping the kids play, whether it is for obtaining gym space or entering tournaments.