With warm weather, the NBA basketball playoffs heating up and our own Atlanta Hawks leading the Orlando Magic in the series, it is a perfect time for adding new basketball courts.
On April 21, Converse Inc., along with Atlanta’s Mayor Kasim Reed, City Council President Ceasar Mitchell and NBA legend and icon Julius “Dr. J” Erving unveiled two new basketball courts at historic Piedmont Park. The donation consists of one full court and one half court and is a part of Converse’s ongoing commitment to being involved in the community. The courts are eco-friendly and are marked with the iconic Converse star logo. They will provide the youth with a safe area to play basketball in metropolitan Atlanta.
While attending the unveiling, city officials, parents of Open Gym Atlanta students and the media were treated to an exhibition game by the children of Converse’s Open Gym.
Mistress of ceremony was popular radio show host Rashan Ali, who got the crowd excited about the new courts. After a short ceremony where Reed, Mitchell and Erving (all were sporting Converse sneakers, of course) spoke to the crowd about how excited they were about the new courts and what they will mean for our city, Piedmont Park and all who will benefit from this wonderful donation, the mayor and Dr. J did the first official tip-off on the new court along with the student athletes.
After the ceremony, Erving took some time to sit down with me and discuss what this dedication means to him and why this new basketball court is so important for the youth in our city.
“I just get a warm fuzzy feeling about these new courts, and I am so excited that the mayor and city council president are supporting this great donation. It’s really wonderful when a private-public partnership can take place and bring such a incredible addition to a public park,” stated the NBA Hall of Famer.
Being known as one of the greatest slam dunkers of all time, Erving says, “I remember when I was living in Atlanta in the ’70s and was looking for a place to play basketball and, now, these kids won’t have to go through that same thing.” More importantly, Converse isn’t a company that just talks about being a part of the community. They are putting their money where their mouth is, and that is what being a part of the solution is all about. All in all, it was a great day for the city of Atlanta and its residents. –christa e. jackson