Center court of the newest community basketball court by the Atlanta Hawks at Selena S. Butler Park. (Photo by: Kat Goduco Photo)

By Itoro N. Umontuen

Thursday afternoon, the Atlanta Hawks and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms unveiled the newest public basketball court at Selena S. Butler Park, next to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Recreation and Aquatic Center.

“Dr. King’s legacy is one of service, selflessness and universal human dignity,” said Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. “The Atlanta Hawks’ investment in our communities continues his legacy, and Atlanta is fortunate to have a hometown team that gives so much to its neighbors and fans.”

In attendance were Principal Owner Tony Ressler, Chief Executive Officer Steve Koonin, Head Coach Lloyd Pierce, first-year guard Trae Young, Hawks legend Dominique Wilkins and Atlanta Hawks Foundation Executive Director David Lee. In addition, the City’s Department of Parks and Recreation Commissioner John Dargle, Jr. and City Councilmember Natalyn Archibong as well as Dr. Elder Bernice King were on site. In addition, State Farm Assistant Vice President of Human Resources Clarence Hearns joined as well.

The Selena S. Butler Park outdoor courts mark the sixth Atlanta Hawks court renovation project completed in collaboration with Atlanta’s Department of Parks and Recreation. These courts will be the first that feature a special black-and-gold color scheme marking the 50th anniversary of the Atlanta Hawks. The unique color scheme also pays tribute Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha, and for his contributions to the City of Atlanta and the country.

“Thank you to the Atlanta Hawks, Dr. Elder Bernice King, and partners for being here today and for helping make this project a reality,” said Department of Parks and Recreation Commissioner John Dargle. “Atlanta is the birthplace of Dr. King and the recreation center and these courts represent his legacy. Through our work and our partnerships Atlanta Parks and Rec works to offer exceptional amenities, programs, and facilities to residents and visitors and these courts are an example of that.”

In 2015, the Atlanta Hawks Foundation pledged to revamp 25 metro Atlanta basketball courts by 2020. These renovations will positively affect approximately 465,000 residents throughout Atlanta. Currently, 23 of 25 courts have been renovated.

“We are humbled to partake in honoring Dr. King and his legacy as our team celebrates 50 years in the city of Atlanta,” Atlanta Hawks & State Farm Arena CEO Steve Koonin said. “On behalf of our fans and our partners at the city, State Farm and UPS, we can’t think of a better way to celebrate Dr. King’s legacy than by putting a commemorative 50th anniversary court next to the MLK Recreation Center, and we are delighted to find another meaningful way to unite this city through the sport of basketball.”

This article originally appeared in the Atlanta Voice. 

Atlanta Hawks dedicate 23rd basketball court in MLK’s honor

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