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The Problem


Shootings with injury increase at night

From 2014 to 2017, one in three shootings with injury in Oakland took place between the hours of 8pm and 12am. Shootings with injury also increase on weekends. 


Black males are disproportionately impacted

Black males comprise a disproportionately high percentage of arrested juveniles (48%), shooting victims (44%), and homicide victims (68%) in Oakland. Numbers presented are from 2017.


Lack of positive activities during evening hours

East Oakland residents who participated in listening sessions held in 2018 most commonly cited the lack of positive activities to keep young people occupied as a root cause of community violence.

The Solution

Midnight Basketball League Programs

Midnight basketball league programs have been operating in cities across the United States since the 1980s with 3 primary goals:

  • Occupy youth and young adults in a positive activity on weekend evenings, when violent crime typically increases.

  • Connect players to resources and services in their communities that address pressing needs related to employment, education, legal aid, etc.

  • Foster positive relationships between players and their teammates, coaches, law enforcement officers, and other members of the community.


To accomplish these goals, the Oakland Midnight Basketball League includes the following components:


Youth and young adults ages 16-25 play in weekly basketball games held between the hours of 9pm and 1am. Players are assigned to 1 of 12-16 teams and play in 2 divisions. Each team is comprised of 10 players and 1 coach.

Life Skills Workshops

Each week, players participate in a 1-hour life skills workshop before their game. Workshop topics include employment, legal services, community violence, and financial literacy. Workshop speakers are expected to connect with players outside the league.

Resource Fairs

Each 8-week league hosts 2 resource fairs – one focused on employment and one open to all local service providers. Organizations set up booths on an open court and connect with players and spectators throughout the night.

Free Food

A series of food trucks provide free food to players and spectators for 2 hours each night. Players and spectators receive a raffle ticket upon entry to the gym that is redeemable for one free meal.

Midnight basketball league programs currently operate in cities across the country: