MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Law enforcement agencies from across the country were in Memphis this weekend for the third annual Memphis Finest Hoopfest -- a basketball tournament for those who work for police departments, fire departments and the military.
Memphis Police Officer and hoopfest organizer Clarence Campbell says the event is more than just playing ball.
“It's a form of decompression for these guys to get out of the squad cars and get away from behind the desk or leave the base,” he said.
For Sydney McDaniel, a police officer in Indiana, the tournament is about building relationships with other departments.
“You get to meet new people from all over the country and get to meet police and fire -- and it’s extremely competitive but at the same time you develop somewhat of a camaraderie," he said.
Margaret McCargo, a law enforcement officer in New Jersey, said these bonds can be important for the future.
“We can build camaraderie and be able to communicate if someone may need someone from another state you have that opportunity to reach out to another agency,” she said.
Victor Martin, who is retired from the Army, said they had one teammate who came all the way from Germany for the competition.
“That's how strong the bond is,” he said. “He made the sacrifice from Germany just to come back -- he's in the military so he came back just to play this.”
Campbell said that all those who attend are also doing outreach in the community.
"Each officer that was present at the game gave a kid some Nikes that were purchased by the Twin Soup Foundation,” he said.
At the end the winning teams get trophies, medals and of course – bragging rights.
But McCargo said it really serves a bigger purpose.
“Being able to come to different states to help the cause and see the smiles on kids’ faces when we gave back the sneakers on Friday -- it was just a nice feeling.”