Basketball court at local outdoor sports complex gets ‘sweet as candy’ renovation

LONGWOOD, Florida. — If you’re an outdoor basketball player, like many of us in Florida, with the beautiful weather making it possible to play year-round, you know what those vibes are like on the basketball court. However, it’s not just about playing the game we love and enjoy, but doing it in an environment where there’s a sense of community and belonging.

Expect this to go deeper at the Candyland Sports Complex in Longwood, about a 20-minute drive from downtown Orlando, thanks to a collective effort by NBA Top Shot, Orlando Magic and Project Backboard, which works in collaboration with local partner Swishh Dreams. .

On Thursday, September 22, these organizations teamed up to reveal Candyland’s revamped basketball court, with a design adapted to the location. Project artist Hannah Hunter, founder of Swishh Dreams, mixed basketball with the classic board game Candy Land.

“It started as a doodle,” said Hunter, a basketball enthusiast whose mission is to find and repair neglected outdoor public basketball courts. “So I kind of worked until it was good court design. I added Netman in the middle. He’s our mascot, a magical basketball net cartoon character who saves the courts. I added the Magic and NBA Top Shot logos (too).”

Impressed with the design and overall energy of the park was Magic forward Franz Wagner, who showed up to commemorate the occasion and help community ambassador Bo Outlaw run a basketball clinic for 10-12 year olds on the court. .

“It’s really cool,” said the 21-year-old, who the day before returned from Germany, where he helped his team to bronze at EuroBasket 2022. “From my experience, we haven’t had anything like this back home in Germany. I’m sure the kids will have a lot of fun… It looks great.”

Another person impressed by the court’s renovation was Longwood Mayor Matt Morgan, a former professional wrestling star and college basketball player at Monmouth University in New Jersey and Chaminade University in Hawaii.

Excited to have the support of so many philanthropic agencies, including Magic, he believes this will further strengthen the community and give children a safe and vibrant place to have fun with friends, make new ones and play a variety of sports. In addition to basketball, the complex has baseball and softball fields, new pickleball courts, a futsal (concrete football) court, a skate park, a Velosolutions bomb rink, which is the only one in Central Florida, and much more.

“As far as the size of a project for our community and city, it was huge,” Morgan said. “In our city, we say it starts with the parks. It’s not a cliché, or a hashtag, or a slogan – we really believe it and we prove it here with this park… The thought process behind it is that we want our young people to have safe places to go and learn a new sport, do part of a team, and so on… We’re doing a lot of things with this park. That’s why we’ve now renamed it Candyland Sports Complex – no more Candyland Park because the theme is true, we have nothing but great sports here and we are very proud of that.”

As NBA Top Shot, the exclusive home of digital collectibles of on-court NBA highlights, grew its online community, they wanted to find ways to connect them in real life as well. The Candyland Sports Complex, through its partnership with Project Backboard, Swishh Dreams and the Magic, was the perfect location for the first of many court renovations across the country.

Working side-by-side with NBA teams like the Magic is essential to your long-term community goals.

“Team partnership is key here,” said Meg Patten, who leads events and experiences at NBA Top Shot. “We are an official partner of the NBA and working with the Magic has been great. They are a first class, world class organization. They were essential to the success of this (court opening).”

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