WNBA: New York Liberty’s Michaela Onyenwere helps renovate NYC court

All basketball gamers comprehend the significance of a very first court experience. For Michaela Onyenwere, the ruling Rookie of the Year in the WNBA, her journey start on mainly indoor courts while maturing in Colorado, however likewise included one outside court in specific that was unique to her prior to she carried on to Pauley Pavilion at UCLA and now Barclays Center, house of the New York Liberty.

Utah Park in Aurora was the house of that outside court where Onyenwere states she opted for her bros to “kind of rough it up with them.” Now, she belongs to a program offering the next generation of kids the chance to find out the video game of basketball on quality surface areas. On Wednesday, it was revealed that, with the aid of Onyenwere, remodellings were total at McCaffrey Playground’s court in Manhattan.

The view of one end of the court at McCaffrey Playground.
Photo thanks to Elisabeth McClure of Ketchum

Mobil 1 started the program, called Tune Up, which has actually been refurbishing courts throughout the nation with the aid of previous and present NBA gamers such as Channing Frye (remodelled court in Cleveland) and Karl-Anthony Towns (remodelled court in Minneapolis). Mobil 1 coordinated with not-for-profit partner Project Backboard for this and likewise included a computer game component to the program. As the remodellings are occurring, there is likewise an NBA2K competition going on that permits players to enhance (“tune up”) their abilities.

“We are proud to use our WNBA and NBA partnerships for good this season by working with Project Backboard to identify and revitalize basketball courts that make an impact on their local communities” stated Bryce Huschka, North America customer marketing supervisor for ExxonMobil. “McCaffrey Playground provides an outdoor space for girls and boys of all ages to do something that they love, in the same way we believe Mobil 1 helps those who love driving have their best experience.”

The court at McCaffrey Playground, which is a 13-minute walk from Madison Square Garden and a six-minute walk from Times Square, was spruced up and painted with a brand-new style drawn by New York artist Andrea Bergart, who was affected by her experience with Downtown Girls Basketball, a New York females’s and non-binary basketball group.

“As a New Yorker and basketball enthusiast being involved in this project with Mobil 1 and Project Backboard is particularly exciting for me,” Bergart stated. “The artwork I developed for this basketball court explores ideas relating to fluidity and kaleidoscopic reflections; forms flowing into other forms and branching off and returning to the whole. Ultimately, I want to create imagery that offers the viewer a poignant experience that also acknowledges the strict geometry of a court.”

“I think Andrea did a great job creatively just making a court that is like ‘Ok what is this,’” Onyenwere stated. “People want to be intuitive about what it is and in turn people will figure out ‘Oh ok, it’s about the tune up the community program that was presented by Mobil 1. I think (the heart of New York City) is such a great place to put it. I think it will serve people really well and people will be excited to play on the court.”

Interview: Michaela Onyenwere on refurbishing New York City court

When inquired about the assistance of the player neighborhood for this task, Onyenwere stated, “they’re having just as much fun with the game was are. That’s so so cool. And we can get many many eyes on the game (through video games). As many eyes as we can get is just super important, especially for the WNBA. … The WNBA needs marketing. We are really growing the league, starting to get a lot more eyes, a lot more people want to invest in the league. And so to be able to have people like (gamer/player) Aerial Powers who are connecting with different types of people to bring them into the WNBA and bring them into our world brings nothing but positive things.”

All in all, ending up being a part of the Tune Up program was a “no-brainer” for Onyenwere.

“New York has kind of turned into my home,” she stated. “As a professional athlete I have a platform and one of those things I want to convey is that I want to give back to the community. So when Mobil 1 came to me and my agent, I was like ‘Of course. Of course I would want to do this, be a part of something bigger than myself.’ And New York is known for outdoor courts — it’s something that’s been a part of the culture for a very long time. … I’m very grateful to be a part of this partnership.”



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