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Hoop & glory! Court is spruced up for basketball

23 July, 2021 — By Helen Chapman

Gareth Roberts, Lamar Roberts, Sophia Nicole Bren and Coco Lom at the Joseph Grimaldi Park court, off Pentonville Road

A BASKETBALL court in King’s Cross has been brought to life with a creative lick of paint to encourage more people to try the sport.

The project, in Joseph Grimaldi Park off Pentonville Road, saw a week of hard work to transform the space with a splash of pink and blue.

Former basketball international Gareth Roberts, who was part of the team involved in the makeover, has called for more funding for what is one of the most popular sports in the country.

He said: “Playing to that standard helps develop so many different skills, like team management, team playing and confidence that are essential in any industry.

“It feels like, if anything, that’s where the funding should be, but that’s not the case.”

British basketball champion Lamar Roberts, who founded grassroots basketball organisation the Right Development Foundation (RDF), said: “If you’ve got a basketball court and you bring some life to it, it looks amazing. People are going to want to come here and play basketball with their friends.”

Painting work at the basketball court

The project, funded by apple producers Pink Lady, was organised in collaboration with Project In The Paint.

Artist Coco Lom said: “Colour has the ability to affect our moods and our emotions. It can affect our happiness.

“As we get older we lose that sense of play and colour – I hope not only kids will come down to the court, but I hope it will bring adults down to play and move, too.”

Children who live nearby also went to the court to get involved in the painting.

Sophia Nicole Bren, 14, said: “It feels new and it feels special. It’s nice how everybody has worked together and brought the community together.”

And Islington’s environment chief, Cllr Rowena Champion, said: “The redevelopment of the Joseph Grimaldi basketball court has completely transformed this space, making it a vibrant, colourful work of art.

“We hope that this exciting new design will help attract more local people to the court to play basketball, meet with friends, or simply to enjoy the art.”

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