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Midnight Basketball Returns to Akron for First Time in More Than a Decade

Akron will host basketball games Monday and Wednesday evenings this summer.
Akron will host basketball games Monday and Wednesday evenings this summer.

The Midnight Basketball league returns to Akron tonight in an effort to combat violence in the community.

The program for adults 18 and over was stopped in 2004, but city leadership has decided to bring it back this summer to give people who might otherwise be on the street at night something to do.

Pat Littlejohn is overseeing the program and helped develop it.

“We’re having a lot of violence within our community, so we wanted to bring something back to allow these guys to exercise some of their energy instead of being out in the streets.”

Littlejohn said there are currently 60 men signed up for the league, but he expects that number to increase.

The program kicks off June 17 and will begin at 6 p.m. Monday and Wednesday evenings at Mason Park Community Center. Littlejohn said the first game starts at 7, but players are encouraged to come an hour before the game to hear invited speakers.

Mayor Dan Horrigan will be the first speaker tonight.

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Ella Abbott is studying journalism and forensic anthropology at Kent State. Abbott has previously held the positions of senior reporter for the Kent Stater, the university’s student run newspaper, and editor-in-chief of Fusion magazine, Kent State’s LGBTQ magazine. Her interests are in public policy and crime.