This weekend, some of Chicago’s most well-known basketball stars—past and present—came together in an effort to help reduce the gang violence that has plagued the city. NBA.com has more on the Peace Basketball Tournament: “Isiah Thomas has worked the intersection of guns and senseless violence before. In fact, it’s something of a family tradition: His mother Mary once greeted gang members who crowded her doorstep, eager to recruit her sons, with a shotgun. Today, there literally is an intersection named ‘Mary Thomas Way’ on this city’s West Side close to where Thomas grew up, avoided the worst that the streets had to offer and became an NBA champion and a basketball Hall of Famer. Thomas was working those streets again Saturday. The basketball lifer with star turns (and less successful stints alike) as a point guard, coach and executive was in a church gym on the South Side, one of the meanest and most dangerous areas in America these days. He and several other NBA figures took part in the Peace Basketball Tournament, yet another attempt to combat a problem that literally is snuffing out hope for young people in the inner city. Last month, Thomas marched with Father Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina to raise awareness about gang violence and Chicago’s soaring murder rate. This time, Thomas – along with Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, Quentin Richardson, Zach Randolph, the Chicago Bears’ J’Marcus Webb and others – was trying to bridge the gap between rivals with basketball, using the celebrity of the sports stars to deliver messages about, well, communicating. ‘It’s a historical event where the gangs are coming together and they’re going to play a game involving peace, to stop the killing,’ Thomas said. ‘Murder has run rampant in Chicago the last couple years, but gangs are calling a truce for this. By getting them to come together and play a sport, they might come to know each other. We believe it’s hard to kill someone if you get to know him.’”