Team Taino: “These Kids Want To Show Their Skills”

By Jason Tomassini and Paula Rogo on Dec 14th, 2010

Part Three of a series. For Part Four, visit here.

After more than two months of practicing against each other in the below-ground gym at Taino Towers, the East Harlem housing complex’s basketball team is finally getting its chance to size up against other teams. The team has entered a recreational league at the Vanderbilt YMCA in midtown, where its coach, Ikay Henry, works as a youth specialist.

“These kids want to play, these kids want to compete against other kids,” Henry says. “They want to show people that they’ve worked on something and that it’s actually working.”

For 18-year-old Devin Johnson, the YMCA league wasn’t just his first chance to play with Team Taino outside East Harlem, it was the first organized basketball game of his life. He made the most of it, ending up the star of the game.

“I’m playing for the team from the ‘hood,” he says. “It’s about our team.”

Next: As the program prepares to expand, what the future holds for Taino Towers’ youth

2 Responses for “Team Taino: “These Kids Want To Show Their Skills””

  1. Aaron Stevenson says:


  2. Skyler says:

    Ikay, awesome article! The structure, guidance, and win/win attitude you provide to these kids will remain with them for the rest of their lives. That makes you my hero.

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