ALTON - Back in the early 1990s, a commercial was broadcast by Gatorade called “Be Like Mike” starring now considered the greatest basketball player of all-time Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls. The commercial was a massive success and helped to further portray Jordan as a likable superstar and endeared children who wished to emulate his play.

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Because of Jordan and others of his era and beyond, possession of a basketball has become much sought after by most children. When kids have that ball placed in their hands, most start their dreams of one day being like Michael Jordan and all the other great players on the hardwoods.

The MustacheMarch4PD program originated in 2017 and it has raised thousands of dollars to provide items from needed protective equipment for law enforcement to today's basketballs for police departments to distribute to children in the community.

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A group that included the Police Chief Marcos Pulido, MustacheMarch4PD officials, and others gathered Wednesday morning at the Law Enforcement Center in Alton to receive the gift of basketballs.

Tina Bennett of MustacheMarch4PD said: “We hosted the annual event on March 25. It was a success. Another program we are doing in conjunction with the 13 police departments we serve, is handing out basketballs to some of the patrolmen to keep in their cars. If they see some kids playing we are suggesting they stop, play some hoops and then give them one of our Back the Blue logo basketballs. It is another way to help them establish positive relationships in the communities.”

Pulido, an athletic police chief, was touched by the gifts of the basketball by the MustacheMarch4PD organizers. He recognizes how much MustacheMarch4PD has given out over the years to help police officers and says he is extremely thankful for those efforts.

“Kids love basketballs," Chief Pulido said. "Not only do the MustacheMarch4PD organizers care about law enforcement, but they also want to help in efforts to have officers engage in the community. The basketballs are just another step in allowing us to have community-minded relations.”

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If you have a news, human interest or sports idea, e-mail [email protected] or call or text 618-623-5930. Follow Dan Brannan on Facebook and on Twitter.

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