More than a game

Midnight Basketball docuseries reveals the life-changing impact of TCHC’s basketball programs.

For over a decade, Midnight Basketball has brought together boys ages 14 to 18 from communities across the city to play basketball on Friday nights. Over time, this Toronto Community Housing (TCHC) program has grown tremendously in the number of participants, its stature, and the partnerships involved to deliver the best programming possible for these youth.

Today, Midnight Basketball runs in the spring and summer and focuses on both physical and personal development. This past season, 200 boys participated in the program.

Each Friday evening, the youth board buses courtesy of the program and travel from their communities to the University of Toronto's Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport. Before stepping on the court for skills development and on-court play, teams enjoy a dinner together. They also take part in life-skill workshops with special guest speakers who talk about leadership, mental health, the importance of education, gaining employment, and more. This past season included a star-studded roster of guest speakers, including Jamaal Magloire, Toronto Raptors Assistant Coach and former NBA All-Star, and Madhav Trivedi, Head Coach of the Varsity Blues men’s basketball team.

To capture the impact of the program, a video crew followed four Scarborough youths from the East Region over the course of the 2023 season. Featuring film from pre-season practices, scrimmages, and one-on-one interviews, the footage resulted in the release of Midnight Basketball: a docuseries. The docuseries is produced in partnership and collaboration with MLSE Foundation and the Toronto Raptors.

Watch each episode of the three-part series, as well as the special two-part feature on League of HER Own, below.

Trailer: Midnight Basketball: a docuseries

The docuseries trailer invites us into the lives of these inspiring Scarborough youths as they share what the game of basketball means to them.

Episode 1: Come Together

In the first episode, we meet Dajon Reid, a longtime member of the Gordonridge community who talks about his love for his mom, friends, and his passion for the game.

Episode 2: Family & Loyalty

Episode 2 introduces us to Magnus Ebohon, who came to Canada from Nigeria in 2016. Magnus speaks about his love for his younger sister, who is the most important human being to him. He shares how the Midnight Basketball program has taught him life lessons in patience, leadership, and hard work, allowing him to be a strong role-model for her.

Episode 3: Brotherhood

In the third episode of the Midnight Basketball docuseries, we meet Jacob Mebrahtu and Joshua Bakker who chat about their friendship and how basketball brought them and their Scarborough community together.

A much needed league of her own

As part of Midnight Basketball: a docuseries, we also interviewed staff and youth from our budding League of HER Own program. Started as a pilot in 2022, the program is for TCHC female youth ages 13 to 18. In 2023, 25 youths from across TCHC communities came together weekly to learn, practice, and enhance their skills for six weeks at the University of Toronto. Featuring student athletes and special guest speakers, youth participated in workshops on what it takes to succeed as a student athlete, how to take care of their bodies, and building long-lasting positive habits.

Hear from some of the superstar athletes who were a part of the program this year:

Episode 1: The athletes

We were also lucky to interview and spotlight some of the staff and coaches of League of HER Own. They share what inspires them to mentor and teach TCHC female youth both on and off the court.

Episode 2: The coaches

TCHC is grateful to MLSE Foundation and the Toronto Raptors for their partnership and collaboration in putting together this docuseries. Thank you to the University of Toronto for hosting the youth. We also acknowledge our Active Living staff for the exclusive access and making this documentary possible. Finally, a big thank you to the amazing youth featured in the docuseries who were generous enough to give us their time and share their personal journeys with us.