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Spirit of Acadiana: Zydeco Hoopfest

Posted at 8:56 PM, Jun 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-26 15:16:30-04

A Lafayette basketball star on both the high school and college levels is back in town this weekend, and his mission is all about giving back.

Brian Jolivette was a basketball legend. This gym right here at Holy Rosary? Brian Jolivette ruled the court. Well, he's back in town this weekend with the Zydeco Hoopfest, and it's all about giving basketball players, boys and girls, chances that he didn't have when he was young.

"I really wanted to come home, because I can identify with the kids and their struggles in Lafayette. Because I was one of them," said Jolivette.

He credits the Lafayette Recreation Department, plus what was then referred to as simply the Boys Club and some great adult role models, for keeping him out of trouble.

And Jolivette 's success rolled along… from Holy Rosary to USL to the oilfield and then his Above All–Sports basketball tournaments.

"And that's what we want to do: give back. My wife and I have a passion; we formed 'Above All Sports.' it was Christian-based and the name speaks for itself: Above All, Sports."

With 110 boys and girls teams from multiple states on board, Zydeco Hoopfest will run this Friday to Sunday on eight courts at six Lafayette Parish sites. 20% of the proceeds from the three day tourney will go to Lafayette Parks & Rec - with the long-range caveat being that he and leaders like Walter Guillory and Hollis Conway come up with a plan to attack some real problems.

"Our intent is to say, 'I want to know what practical issues you have. That we can address and we can help with. If it means getting tutorial program with some of these kids in parks and rec who need help with their studies, whatever that is, we want to be instrumental in making that happen,'" he explained.

He'd done tournaments in Houston, but doing something similar in Acadiana was always on his radar.

And now, Jolivette adds, it comes when the Lord feels the time is right to mix youth basketball with giving back.

"And I want this to be sustainable over many years, make this an annual event. And I want to figure out from this event how I can do more to help kids."

So Zydeco Hoopfest giving back to Lafayette Parks and Rec, but also some hidden basketball gems: good basketball and a little pay it forward.

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