Basketball players are artists in their own way. Project Backboard decided to give these craftsman a proper canvas to showcase their work.
I don’t want to lollygag or boondoggle. You should follow this link to see the beautiful things that Project Backboard has done to basketball courts across the country. Their most recent installation at Kinloch Park in Missouri stretches across three courts and is the largest such work in the country.
If that isn’t enough, try this link too. Both grit and grind are alive and well in some parts of Memphis. The Tony Allen and Zach Randolph memorial courts are going to be particularly touching.
That’s one of the cool things about art. It takes moments, or thoughts, or feelings that seem ephemeral and turns them into something solid, something you can see and touch. Something you can experience over and over again simply by being in its presence. The Memphis Grizzlies have a core identity that’s ingrained in the city. It’s no wonder Project Backboard started there.
Daniel Peterson, a member of the Memphis Grizzlies community investment department, began just by touching up courts himself, filling in cracks and repainting lines. Over a few years, this turned into contacting artists like William LaChance and Anthony Lee in hopes of turning the courts into something more.
The above article talks about how these dilapidated courts went from disuse to neighborhood hubs. Peterson sought to “help people understand that they don’t have to be just one type of person—an artist or an athlete—they can be both.” In bringing these two worlds together, he not only improved the spaces around him on a practical level, he is broadcasting a virtuous message.
While a redesign is only a step in improving a community, it is a first step and that step is often the most difficult.