UCF student organizes basketball tournament to raise funds for cancer research

Photo by Rachel LeBar. Host of Hooping For A Cure Tj Bullock announces the teams who will move on to the next round of the tournament. “When I was a senior at Lynn University, I had a project in my sports management class where I had to create an event similar to this,” said Bullock. “I ended up visiting FIBA, and they told me I should create more events. Now, I have a great team of people and contacts who were able to make this event happen today.”

On Sunday, UCF student Tj Bullock hosted Hooping For A Cure, a basketball tournament to raise money for breast cancer research and honor his mother who passed away from the disease three years ago.

The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) endorsed the event, and the proceeds went to the V Foundation for Cancer Research. The tournament included 12 teams, one of which will move on to the 3×3 National Tournament in Colorado Springs, Colorado in April 2017.

“Sept. 25 is the third anniversary of my mom passing away from breast cancer,” said Bullock. “I really wanted to do something in her honor. Basketball is a huge part of my life, so it’s the best way I know how.”

Bullock, 24, is currently enrolled in UCF’S DeVos Sport Business Management program. He says that one of the main models of the graduate program is the “power of sport,” encouraging students to evolve their passion for athletics to a greater cause.

“A lot of people just think of sports as a competition, but it can be used in so many different ways,” said Bullock. “We’ve seen it bring people together of all races, religions, and sexualities. Once you step onto the court, it’s all about helping your teammates get the win. Right now, we are using that ‘power of sport’ to go further than just basketball and raise money for something really important to not only me, but also to so many who have been impacted by breast cancer.”  

Involvement in the tournament extended passed the UCF community. Players from all over Central Florida came out to support Tj’s cause, and of course, play their favorite sport.

“I play this sport for free every day, but today, I don’t mind paying to play to support Tj’s cause,” said Haben Beiene, 24, a fellow student of Bullock in the DeVos program. “He has a lot of reputable names to sponsor this event, so he really is making a difference today.”

Bullock spent two months planning Hooping For A Cure and has received more than $2,000 on his fundraising page for breast cancer research in memory of his mother.

“His mom has always been present in Tj’s life,” said Alezandra Berrio, 22, Tj’s girlfriend and one of the event coordinators. “She always went to his games and I know she would be very proud of what he has accomplished today.”

The winning team was TNT, that beat Three da Hardaway 19-14 in the final round.

To donate to Tj’s efforts, visit his fundraising page.