LL Cool J’s ninth annual Jump and Ball Tournament in St. Albans had a dark horse.
Cowboy Curly Hall and members of the Federation of Black Cowboys of Howard Beach mosied on to Daniel O’Connell Park on Saturday to meet young buckaroos and buckarettes, while the basketball games raged on.
The tournament, an effort by embattled State Senator Malcolm Smith and the world famous rapper and actor LL Cool J, gave kids a chance to learn about history and lifestyles of cowboys and to interact with horses, among other sports events and educational activities.
“In this century there are not many cowboys around that kids can recognize as being another source of living,” Hall said. “We actually live the cowboy life, we actually perform and try to enjoy what was once a real way of life. But saying all of that I enjoy entertaining the kids and teaching them a little history.”
The event, which features free basketball tournaments, every Saturday and Sunday until Sept. 1, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m, also had free food, giveaways and live music. Children could participate in golf as well or talk with representatives from the Queens Public Library.
“It’s a good thing for the children,” said Andrea Maddison, a Laurelton parent. “ It’s nice for them to get outside. And they don’t need to be inside running up people’s electric bill.”
The event is among more positive news for Smith, who will be facing charges of bribery, conspiracy and wire fraud after investigators alleged that he conspired to rig the mayoral election with Councilmember Dan Halloran and Queens County Republican Party Vice Chair Vincent Tabone.
“I think what’s so important about giving back is we don’t know who the next star is in this entire group,” Smith said. “Anybody here could be the next president, could be the next LL Cool J. What this does is it shows them and gives them an example that even when you make it you can’t forget where you came from.”