Magic – on and off the court

Ellis Cooper with some young fans
Ellis Cooper with some young fans

Hiding behind unassuming doors, nestling behind Whalley Range High School, is one of the north west’s sporting powerhouses.

The Amaechi Centre is home to the Manchester Magic and Mystics Basketball Teams.

As well as the top-class basketball provided by their top teams the centre attracts both children and adults from all ages from south Manchester and beyond, either as participants or supporters, and generates a positive impact on the local and surrounding communities as they train youngsters to a very high level.

Their Saturday morning sessions sees kids aged from five to 11, of all abilities, join together in a fun environment.

Throughout the week the teams are taught skills and play competitive games, culminating at the weekend with their senior squads in action.

Magic have also just been crowned NBL champions.

Super Cooper

Manchester Magic’s Ellis ‘Super’ Cooper has been making waves off the court as well as on it.   

American Cooper, 24, has been working with the young people of Moss Side, teaching the abilities and values of competitive and inclusive basketball.  

Ellis Cooper with a young fan
Ellis Cooper with a young fan

A weekly Tuesday session at Moss Side Leisure Centre brings together kids of various ages and abilities through the Fathers Against Violence group (FAV).  

FAV is about empowering and educating fathers to be positive role model to young men in their families and communities. 

Strong family values instilled by Ellis, tied in with his enthusiasm to teach children the health benefits, communication and trust relied upon in a group sport is easily recognised by the participants, and provides life skills going forward. 

Cooper said: “Lots of young adults have an interest and a love of basketball in this country but have nowhere close to play or be mentored.

“This is a great organization built to promote positive attitudes rather than violence and a downward pathway leading to illegal activities”.

James Gregory, operations manager at FAV, added: “Having access to the sessions with Ellis is a great opportunity for the young people giving them new experiences and builds aspirations.”