CHARACTER COUNTS

Suns announce $1 million grant to build, refurbish 50 basketball courts

Sep 20, 2017, 5:13 PM | Updated: Sep 21, 2017, 11:28 am

(Photo courtesy Phoenix Suns)...

(Photo courtesy Phoenix Suns)

(Photo courtesy Phoenix Suns)

PHOENIX — The Phoenix Suns will use a $1 million grant to refurbish and build 50 basketball courts around Arizona over the course of the team’s 2017-18 season.

Suns managing partner Robert Sarver announced the community project Wednesday at the Neighborhood Ministries court, the first completed refurbished court.

“We’re honored to celebrate being a part of this great state for 50 years,” Sarver said, according to a release. “We take a lot of pride in being a community leader and the investment in 50 basketball courts continues our long-standing commitment to giving back. Most importantly, today’s announcement ensures that the next generation has safe, welcoming and enjoyable places to play the game we love.”

The team selected 50 courts operated by organizations like the Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCA and the City of Phoenix to give back during the team’s 50th anniversary season.

The redone court at Neighborhood Ministries was already a hit upon the reveal on Wednesday.

Alejandro Rodriguez, 21, said he has been playing at Neighborhood Ministries’ basketball court since he was a child.

“The floor was the biggest concern because it was always slippery,” Rodriguez said. “But with this, it’s a dream come true, honestly.”

Antonio Espinoza, 25, said he broke his foot while playing basketball due to the old court’s lack of grip. He said he couldn’t play basketball for more than a month after that. He calls the renovation “a blessing” and said the court looks better than he imagined it would look.

“The colors and everything stands out,” Espinoza said. “The court finally has grip, and you can see the three-point line. There were no lines before. It was pure cement.”

The full list of renovations can be found here.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Griselda Nevarez contributed to this story

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