Clippers pledged to renovate Los Angeles' public basketball courts. Four years (and a $10 million donation) later, they've done it.

·3 min read

The Clippers pledged to renovate all Los Angeles area basketball courts in partnership with the Los Angeles Parks Foundation in 2018.

Four years and 350 public basketball courts later, the Clippers fulfilled that vow.

Clippers owner Steve Ballmer and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti were on hand Tuesday to unveil a new basketball court at the Michelle and Barack Obama Sports Center in Los Angeles, the last of 350 Clippers Community Courts refurbished in the city.

“The City of L.A.'s population is almost 4 (million) people, and 98% of them live within two miles of a Clippers Community Court. That means 3.9 (million) people have access to these courts and all of the benefits that come with them," Ballmer said on Tuesday. "With our partners at the Los Angeles Parks Foundation and L.A.’s Department of Recreation and Parks, this is a proud achievement."

Moussa Diabaté, who was drafted by the Clippers with the 43rd pick in the 2022 NBA draft last week, also attended the ceremony in his first outing with the team. Ballmer said he and Diabaté agreed that the new community court "looks as good as the court in (the Clippers') practice facility."

"The staff that worked on this thing, the contractor, the people from the Department of Recreation and Parks, good job," Ballmer said while enthusiastically flashing a thumbs-up.

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Ballmer and his wife Connie Ballmer were initially approached by the Department of Recreation and Parks in 2018 to renovate a select number of city park courts. Gillian Zucker, president of business operations for the Clippers, said the Ballmers made the decision to renovate all city courts when looking at communities in need by way of a $10 million donation.

“This was the largest donation ever to the City of Los Angeles’ parks system and it has transformed recreation centers, and been a point of pride, for nearly every neighborhood in the City,” said Carolyn Ramsay, the Los Angeles Parks Foundation’s executive director.

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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Clippers owner Steve Ballmer (center) cut a blue ribbon to officially open the Clippers Community Courts at the Michelle and Barack Obama Sports Center in Los Angeles on June 28, 2022.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Clippers owner Steve Ballmer (center) cut a blue ribbon to officially open the Clippers Community Courts at the Michelle and Barack Obama Sports Center in Los Angeles on June 28, 2022.

On Tuesday, Ballmer said the main goal is to "impact kids' lives... But if we get a few fans out of it, I’m good with that too." After a laugh, he added, "We're here to win championships, excite fans and help kids."

Garcetti said the completed project shows that "the Clippers are so much more than a basketball organization. They’re an agent for social and economic change, and one of our strongest partners in our work to empower young Angelenos."

In addition to a place to play ball, the newly-updated facilities have also been used as shelters, emergency child care centers and alternative learning sites in the community during the pandemic. The Clippers Community Courts will also help promote youth sports ahead of the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

"It's a game changer as we look into the future. It's going to build that next legacy," Jimmy Kim, assistant general manager of Recreation and Parks, said in a video shared by the Clippers' Twitter account.

Contributing: The Associated Press 

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Clippers complete renovation of 350 basketball courts in Los Angeles

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