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Under Armour recognized by ESPN for basketball program linking youth and police

Under Armour has been recognized by ESPN for working with the NBA to use basketball to build community ties between youth and police.

The Baltimore-based apparel maker received the network’s Sports Humanitarian Corporate Community Impact Award for Building Bridges through Basketball. The brand, given the award Tuesday night, started the effort in 2016 in Chicago and has expanded it to Charlotte, N.C.

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The 10-week program, also run with the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality, is designed to build trust and bridge divides in communities by bringing police officers and young people together for basketball training and leadership activities designed to teach problem solving and conflict resolution. It has reached hundreds of young people and officers, the sports brand said.

“It’s just the idea of being part of something bigger than yourself, the idea of working with people who may be a little apprehensive to work with police and then just realize that officers are just like every individual," Luis Crespo, an officer in community policing for the Chicago Police Department, said in an announcement Wednesday.

ESPN says it gives out sports humanitarian awards to recognize athletes, teams and sports industry professionals who use the power of sport to make a difference. Under Armour runs the program through its UA Freedom initiative, a program to support people who defend their country and help their communities.

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