Angel McCoughtry and adidas Look to Inspire the Next Generation with Refurbished ‘Reach For the Stars’ Court in Louisville

Angel McCoughtry has been manifesting this moment for a long time now. The WNBA All-Star had thought of refurbishing and designing her own basketball court years ago but had never actually acted on it until now. After throwing the idea out to adidas, McCoughtry admits that initially, she wasn’t entirely sure what would come out of it.

To her surprise, the Three Stripes not only rocked with her vision but wanted to turn her dream of having her own court and, more importantly, giving back to the community into a reality. 

“I’m like, Oh, my God, are you serious?” McCoughtry says over Zoom of her reaction when she found out adidas wanted to help her put the project together. 

This past Friday, the five-time gold medalist and adidas unveiled the newly refurbished “Reach for the Stars” basketball court at Shively Park. They started organizing everything for the refurbishing last fall—while opting to begin painting in the summertime to ensure the paint would dry—and the result is a vibrant and intricately designed court, created by Project Backboard, with an array of colors and geometrically shaped patterns. 

McCoughtry says she specifically wanted reds to be included in the mural’s color scheme because it represents both Louisville and the community. There are also hints of yellow and her favorite color, purple. 

“There’s just hints of all kinds of colors that just brighten it up. It’s just really going to attract everybody to the court and to that area.”

Located less than 10 minutes away from the University of Louisville campus, the court also features a stunning portrait of a women’s basketball player lifting her hands in the air in triumph.

“I think what the mural symbolizes is just overcoming adversity,” McCoughtry says over Zoom, just days before the court’s unveiling. “Being a champion. There’s so much emotion behind it, and that’s what I love about the court. It’s a woman’s face, a Black woman. You don’t really see many courts with a woman figure.” 

There’s also the phrase “Reach for the Stars” written in her handwriting on the court, which also happens to be the title of her latest single. For McCoughtry, the opportunity to intertwine her love for the game with her passion for music makes that detail even more special. 

“I’ve been doing music for so long, and, of course, basketball has been my number one passion, but I’ve done it for a while. Many people don’t know that, and I just never really promoted to that level, it’s just [like] I put it out, and whoever likes it likes it, and I keep it moving, I go play basketball. But with this, just to have a connection with the court, reaching for the stars, and then they can download the song and actually be inspired by the song as well. I don’t think we’ve heard anybody do that. With adidas, we are definitely setting the bar high. We are definitely breaking barriers. I’m really excited about that part just for people to see, like, Wow, you can really do anything. That’s what my speech is going to be to the kids on that day, like; I just started playing basketball at eight. I just love the game. So if you find something you love, it can take you places you’ve never imagined. I’m standing right now on a basketball court that I helped create with adidas. So, it’s amazing.”

Growing up in Baltimore, the five-time gold medalist admits that the courts were “rough,” At the time, she didn’t see anyone, from big names to brands, coming in to refurbish the space for young hoopers like herself to play on. She heard a lot about Shively Park during her time at Louisville, and while she mainly spent most of her time on campus and in the program’s training facilities, she did pass by it once or twice.

To be a part of the court’s revamping is a full-circle moment for McCoughtry, as it represents not only her own chance to give back to the community, but she hopes it will inspire more female hoopers to “know their value” and have courts of their own.

“I think that is going to start to spiral more women [and] next thing you know; more women will have courts. I assume you could see Sue Bird have one and Breanna Stewart. I’m sure they’re like, whoa, you know? That’s the goal: for more women to do these kinds of things and to inspire (them) to set the bar high. I think it’s time for us to start setting the bar high in our worth and our value and what we can bring.” 

It’s also about the next generation of female hoopers paving the way for future opportunities to arise, too. McCoughtry has continued to be an inspiration throughout her career—her resume includes numerous gold medals, WNBA Rookie of the Year, five WNBA All-Star appearances, and earned All-WNBA First Team honors twice.

Lately, she’s been spending time recovering from significant knee injuries that caused her to miss the 2021 WNBA season, but as of now, she says she’s been back in the gym and is in a good place.

“I went to the gym yesterday to just play; I felt really, really good where I’m at. I gave my agent the okay to talk to teams, so I think very soon, by the All-Star break. I’m really excited to get back out there.”

And now, having a court with her image on it only adds to her illustrious legacy. She’s not stopping there, though, and hopes that the refurbished court at Shively Park will create even more opportunities for both herself and the future of women’s basketball. 

“I will say this is definitely something that leaves a legacy. Even after I retire, I can go on and see that, wow, there’s a court. These are things that last forever—my grandkids can come and see that court. It’s amazing, and sometimes it’s like winning a championship ring, right? The championship ring doesn’t really have its value until 20 years later, 10 years later. You see how we go back and look at what Magic Johnson’s done or Michael Jordan or Lisa Leslie because the value increases as the years go by. That’s how I feel about the court; I think just the value will continue to increase. And off the court, I already talked [NBA] 2K, you know they have the WNBA side of it, [and I’m like], hey, this is an opportunity. The court to be in the video game. There (are) so many ideas and ways to maneuver with it, and (it) talks about putting the music in the video game on the WNBA side. Not even just the W side; put it on the whole video game!

But hey, just the fact that they’re loving my idea and being able to pitch that part is just amazing. Whoever thought the WNBA players would be in the video game anyway? Now I’m talking about our assets, our courts, (and) our music in video games, too. We’re taking this to a whole other level.”

The post Angel McCoughtry and adidas Look to Inspire the Next Generation with Refurbished ‘Reach For the Stars’ Court in Louisville appeared first on SLAM.

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