Images available here (Photos by Jeffrey Vanags)
PHILADELPHIA –Vanessa Bryant’s Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation joined Nancy Lieberman Charities during a ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday, to dedicate two new outdoor basketball courts and a public arts mural at Philadelphia’s Tustin Playground. The legacy project features and commemorates Kobe and Gianna Bryant. Philadelphia is special to the Bryant family. Kobe Bryant grew up nearby and began his career at Tustin Playground and surrounding parks. “My husband was born here, and so was his love for basketball,” said Bryant, President of the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation. “My girls and I are so happy to give back to Kobe’s hometown in this special way. Because the generosity of our donors, fans, and friends, our Foundation was able to make these Dream Courts and mural a reality.” For Bryant, whose foundation benefits underserved athletes and boys and girls in sports, the location of the courts is special. “I chose Tustin Park so the children and young people in this community may have a safe space to play. Kobe and Gianna would be very happy to know boys and girls will have equal opportunity to compete, learn, and play through the game they both loved so much,” said Bryant. The two Tustin Playground Dream Courts were gifted to the City. One court was donated by Nancy Lieberman Charities. The second court was donated by the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation. The courts feature high-performance PowerGame surface from Sport Court® in purple and gold. Sport Court is Nancy Lieberman Charities national partner for this program. The public art installation and mural, donated by the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation with significant contributions from Mural Arts Philadelphia, was created by artist Ernel Martinez. “Kobe Bryant was an exceptional basketball player, competitor, but he was a better human being, father husband and inspiration to many. This mural not only focuses on his passion for basketball, but also the love of family, particularly Gigi, his daughter. We celebrate his legacy and contribution to sport and the City of Philadelphia with the transformation of this historic playground,” said Martinez. “There’s always a special feeling when you come to a place where Kobe had so much success laying the foundation for his remarkable career. It’s an honor for us to build two Dream Courts with the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation in honor of Kobe and Gianna.” said Nancy Lieberman, Basketball Hall of Famer and Nancy Lieberman Charities Founder. Since the inception of the Dream Courts program in 2010, more than 100 Dream Courts have been installed across the United States to make basketball more accessible to children and provide an environment for them to play. Over three million youth play on Dream Courts in the U.S., with each court serving approximately 120 youth per day and helping to improve the lives of over 5 million children a year. “The Bryant family has a special tie to Philadelphia,” Mayor Jim Kenney said. “Many of the values Kobe embodied: toughness, determination, and dedication, were learned on the basketball courts here at Tustin. These new courts are a lasting legacy for the Bryant family, and will introduce a new generation of West Philly kids to the joy of basketball. We are honored to have a ‘Dream Court’ in the heart of our city that will inspire girls and women through Nancy Lieberman’s amazing contributions to the sport. I want to thank Nancy Lieberman Charities and the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation for this investment in the young people of Philadelphia.” The event was attended by young people of the Tustin Playground Recreation Center, who participated in a basketball clinic following the event.
Philadelphia Parks & Recreation (PPR) advances the prosperity of the city and the progress of its people through intentional and sustained stewardship of nearly 10,200 acres of public land and waterways as well as through hundreds of safe, stimulating recreation, environmental and cultural centers. PPR promotes the well-being and growth of the city’s residents by connecting them to the natural world around them, to each other and to fun, physical and social opportunities. PPR is responsible for the upkeep of historically significant Philadelphia events and specialty venues, and works collaboratively with communities and organizations in leading capital projects and the introduction of inventive programming. To learn more about Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, visit us at www.phila.gov/parksandrec, and follow @philaparkandrec on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
About Nancy Lieberman CharitiesNancy Lieberman Charities was established in 2009 with the mission to provide a healthy physical, emotional and mental environment for young girls and boys to build their self-esteem and confidence so they will be able to make the right choices in the future. Nancy Lieberman is dedicated to expanding and ensuring that educational and sports opportunities exist for youth through her basketball camps and clinics, Dream Court projects, college scholarships, backpack and laptop programs. Find us online at nancyliebermancharities.org on Facebook at @NancyLiebermanCharities, on Twitter @NLCharities and on Instagram at @NLCharities. About Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation Founded through the loving memory of Kobe and Gianna “Gigi” Bryant, the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to creating positive impact for underserved athletes and boys and girls in sports. To learn more about MMSF please visit www.mambaandmambacita.org Instagram @mambamambacitasports / @mambamambacitasports #PlayGigisWay #MambaForever
Nancy Lieberman Charities Media ContactJessica.Sciacchitano@rogersandcowanpmk.com Julia Korsyn 212-878-5206Julia.Korsyn@rogersandcowanpmk.com Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation Media Contact Kat Conlonkat@mambaandmambacita.org Vanessa Bryant and Family Jeff Raymond firstname.lastname@example.org City of Philadelphia Media Contacts Kevin Lessard Director of Communications City of Philadelphia | Office of the Mayorkevin.email@example.com Andrew Alter Communications Specialist City of Philadelphia | Parks & Recreationandrew.firstname.lastname@example.orgJessica Sciacchitano 804-436-6829