Public parks were a place to hone their skills even though scarce upkeep meant they were not always in the best condition. “Inner city parks and courts provide more than basketball experiences for our youth. They help shape the next generation of players and enthusiasts,” said former NBA power forward, Kevin Garnett, who currently serves as the global ambassador and creative director for AND1.
AND1 aims to improve court conditions for youth nationwide starting this weekend with the unveiling of the upgraded DeFremery Park, the first of many parks the sporting good brand plans to refurbish as a part of its “Paint The Park” initiative. A newly painted mural reflective of the community will be one of the most noticeable upgrades.
Paul Silas, retired NBA player and father of the current Dallas Mavericks’ assistant coach, is a prime example. He used to watch basketball legend, Bill Russell, play pickup basketball there in the mid-1950s, just as other future NBA players did. As a prelude to the big reveal and tip off to the 2018-2019 NBA season, the AND1 is hosting a community event at the park, located at 1651 Adeline St, Oakland, CA 94607, on Saturday, Oct. 13, from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. in partnership with TNT’s Area 21.
“We’re bringing the game back to its origin–street basketball–just as we always have,” AND1 representative, John Scipio, AND1 general manager, said. “Now, with our Paint The Park program, we’re able to make deeper, long-lasting connections with the communities we serve not just through the culture of street basketball. We’re marrying relevant, influential elements of their environment, from art to music, and bringing it all to where dedicated ball players in underserved areas migrate most–public parks. This helps give them a unique sense of pride in where they come from, their ‘home court.’”
The event will serve as the backdrop for TNT’s production of the Area 21 segments featuring Garnett, which will air on TNT on the opening night of the NBA season. Garnett will discuss the history of the heritage brand, their next big moves and the Paint The Park initiative.
More than 300 anticipated attendees will enjoy a dynamic mix of experiences hosted by Garnett as well as familiar faces from the original AND1 mixtape tour, including DJ Set-Free and Rafer “Skip to My Lou” Alston. The three-hour activation also includes giveaways and a mini-concert featuring performances from local artists, including SOB x RBE and ALLBLACK. This is not the first time the park has received a makeover. In October 2013, two basketball courts at DeFremery Recreation Center were renovated. The renovation was a partnership between the Office of Parks and Recreation (OPR) and the Public Works Agency, Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney, the Golden State Warriors, the Good Tidings Foundation, the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA) and the Friends of Oakland Parks and Recreation (FOPR) Bliss Family Gift.
With help from AND1, the park now features distinct cultural ties to its roots. After Oakland, AND1 is hitting the road like the good old days to take their initiative to parks across the nation and will release details on upcoming events soon.