Lead Story Prep Sports West Edition

Clippers donate $10 million to renovate basketball courts

LOS ANGELES — Hundreds of public basketball courts across Los Angeles will be renovated over the next three years with funds donated by the Los Angeles Clippers and team Chairman Steve Ballmer and his wife, Connie, it was announced April 2.

Mayor Eric Garcetti and other leaders joined the Ballmers and Clippers guard Lou Williams for the announcement at the Jim Gilliam Recreation Center in South Los Angeles, which is one of the roughly 350 courts that will be renovated though the $10 million gift to the Los Angeles Parks Foundation.

“Los Angeles is a city that embraces opportunity — and every kid in this city should have every opportunity to grow up to be the next Lou Williams, or DeAndre Jordan,” Ballmer said.

“Mayor Garcetti asked if the Clippers would play a role and help give opportunity to kids, and we were happy to step up,” he said. “We believe every kid should have a shot at the American dream, and youth sports opportunities can absolutely play a role in that.”

The city’s Department of Recreation and Parks conducted a detailed assessment of basketball courts early in Garcetti’s administration and determined that the floors of 108 indoor courts and 236 outdoor courts are in need of restoration.

“Sports have always been an incredible vehicle for social change, and this gift is an extraordinary investment in our children and communities,” Garcetti said. “The Ballmers and the Clippers organization reflect the best of Los Angeles, and I’m grateful to them for their leadership and generous commitment to our city’s future.”

The donation will cover the renovation of every court that is in need of repair in Los Angeles, according to the team.

The Clippers also said the donation could help increase the participation of girls in basketball in Los Angeles, where participation is roughly 25 percent female and 75 percent male. Nationally, the statistics are 40 percent female and 60 percent male.

A large number of the courts being renovated are located in communities where Garcetti’s Girls Play L.A. initiative is driving higher participation by young women in the city’s youth sports programming, team officials said.

Renovation of the courts will include installing new flooring, backboards, frames, rims and scoreboards, while each project will be customized to update each court in line with the needs of the local community, the Clippers said.