How a Gun and a Bet Led to an Award for Inner City Chicago Baseball Team

The baseball scene in Chicago has reached a new milestone: a local team has been awarded the 2022 Laureus Sports for Good Award.

The Laureus Awards were established in 1990 by the Laureus Sports for Good Foundation. Its founding patrons, the Mercedes-Benz Group and Richemont created the foundation in hopes of advancing toward one common goal: to help promote peace while eliminating violence and discrimination through sports. 

The Laureus Awards are held annually in 11 cities and broadcast throughout 160 countries.

The diverse selection of winners is always handpicked and highlighted based on the significant contributions they have made towards achieving a better world through sports. 

This year, The Lost Boyz Inc. was deemed one of the perfect candidates to receive such an award. Their journey began with a gun and a bet. 

The team’s founder, LaVonte Stewart, was coaching a local boy’s baseball team when a fight broke out between two men; they began shooting at and chasing each other down through the area. 

Stewart was quick to take cover in an attempt to protect himself. 

However, to his surprise, the children began joking around with each other and making bets about what would happen next.

It was then that Stewart realized the reality of what these kids had to experience every day. Following this incident, Stewart strived to establish The Lost Boyz Inc., which offered a supportive and safe environment for disadvantaged children overexposed to gangs and gun violence.

The Lost Boyz Inc. continues to serve its community’s youth today, offering various sports programs for children in low-income neighborhoods. 

“For the kids we work with, baseball is an opportunity to build confidence, resilience, and life skills to support them in the future. The Laureus Sport for Good Award is proof that what we are doing works. We will use this as a message of hope and inspiration for our boys and girls, encouraging them to fulfill their potential not only on the field but in life.” – LaVonte Stewart

They also provide financial and educational opportunities to secure their future. The program has helped the community tremendously, with 88% of surveyed parents saying that The Lost Boyz Inc. kept their children safe from youth and gun violence.

The Laureus Award was presented by Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin and the Chairman of MLB Chicago Cubs, Tom Ricketts. During an interview about the award, Franklin quotes Nelson Mandela’s infamous line about changing the world through sport: 

“For these young boys and girls, sport is inspiration, hope, and a path to a brighter future. They are an inspiration, and as Academy Members, and we are so proud to celebrate their success.”

Having won a Laureus Award in 2017 with MLB team Chicago Cubs, Ricketts expressed his recognition of The Lost Boyz Inc’s continuous acts of hope to the community through sport.

“The work LaVonte and his team are doing is an inspiration to us all, and this Laureus Sport for Good Award is recognition of their tireless effort. We were honored to be recipients of the 2017 Laureus World Team of the Year Award, and I continue to be inspired by their work to celebrate the positive power of sport.”

Today, The Lost Boyz Inc. continues to provide opportunities for young children through organized sports. 

The 2022 Laureus Awards will be held on April 24th in Seville, Spain. For more information on how to tune in to the broadcast, visit #Laureus22 on any social media platform.