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Dirt Bowl back in Louisville for 47th year

The Dirt Bowl, an annual summertime basketball tournament in Louisville, is back.

Opening ceremonies took place Saturday at Shawnee Park, and games will be played through June and July and into August.

Dirt Bowl commissioner Neal Robertson says the event was created in response to the riots of 1968 following the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. "It was an attempt to bring the community together through basketball," he said. Robertson believes the Dirt Bowl helped to quell some of the violence during that time, but he also thinks it is still as important today.

"Now our brothers and sisters are dying in the streets," Robertson said, due to other influences. "We're trying to create a positive atmosphere for young black men," he added.

Over the next six weekends, the Dirt Bowl, now in its 47th year, will highlight multiple teams playing against each other and showcase some familiar names in the sports world. Organizers expect somewhere between 4,000 to 6,000 fans to attend the games. Bob Payne, of Ft. Thomas, Ky., just happened to stop by the event and is now considering assembling a team in Cincinnati to bring to the tournament.

"Basketball can take you to college and allow you to make friends you would never have had before," Robertson said. He realizes that it is just small piece of a puzzle to end violence and promote progress in the African-American community, but it is a positive step.

Source: Courier-Journal