051221_MNS_BlazeSports_Hawks BlazeSports America player at Big Peach Slam

A player attempts a free throw during a game in the 2020 Big Peach Slam Wheelchair Basketball Tournament.

BlazeSports America announced it will continue its partnership with the Atlanta Hawks, meaning the Hawks will sponsor the BlazeSports Junior Hawks Wheelchair Basketball team for the 2021 season.

Based in Norcross, BlazeSports is a national nonprofit which empowers children and adults with physical disabilities through sports programs, such as wheelchair athletics. It was founded shortly after the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games.

Also, the Hawks will be the presenting sponsor of the annual Big Peach Slam Wheelchair Basketball Tournament May 15 and 16 at the Acworth Community Center.

“We are thrilled and honored to continue our partnership with the Atlanta Hawks. Their contributions to our organization over the past few years are unquantifiable,” BlazeSports Executive Director Dawn Churi said in a news release. “More than ever before, we are looking forward to getting our athletes together, in a safe and healthy way, for the Big Peach Slam tournament this year. We greatly appreciate the Atlanta Hawks’ support to make that happen.”

The partnership between the Hawks and BlazeSports includes a donation to the top-ranking National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) that will offset costs of items such as athlete travel support, uniforms and equipment repair. The Hawks will also provide branded merchandise and game experiences, as well as offer mentorship and advice on sportsmanship to the Junior Hawks players.

“We are grateful to continue the community partnership with BlazeSports America and the Jr. Hawks Wheelchair Basketball Program,” Hawks Vice President of Basketball Development Jon Babul said in the release. “The Big Peach Slam Jam is the largest tournament of its kind and provides a memorable experience for hundreds of wheelchair basketball athletes, coaches and families across the Southeast.”

BlazeSports’ Atlanta Jr. Hawks program is one of the nation’s fastest growing and most successful youth wheelchair basketball initiatives in the Southeast. Youth athletes 7 to 18 years old can participate in this seven-month program, which is part of the NWBA.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Big Peach Slam Jam will be limited to 12 teams this year, with the health and safety of the athletes, referees, coaches and attendees the top priority. The tournament will run May 15 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and May 16 from 8 a.m. to about 2 p.m. (the championship game tips off at 12:30 p.m., followed by a Senior Celebration honoring eight graduating seniors, a few of which are going on to play in college, and their families).

For more information about the event, volunteering and game schedule, visit www.blazesports.org.

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