Basketball Courts and Public Art: Inspiring Inter-generational Play in Public Parks

submission by ProjectBackboard

About Your Application

Organization(s) name(s):

Project Backboard

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Describe Your Organization(s)

Non-profit organization

For-profit organization


Other (please specify below):

In one sentence, please describe what your organization does.


Renovate basketball courts and install art in public parks in order to create fun and inviting places for basketball and other activity that inspires creative, inter-generational play, increases park usage and strengthens communities.

In one to three sentences, please describe your proposal.


Public park basketball courts are the “heart-beat” of many communities. Leveraging the energy and creativity created by outdoor basketball, Project Backboard will coordinate with local and national partners to renovate 15 basketball courts in LA, commission and install public art, made by community members and working artists, around each court, host free all-ages basketball tournaments, cleaning up graffiti and install outdoor fitness equipment where appropriate.

Where will you be working? Please be specific (e.g. Third Street Middle School; Boyle Heights; LA County).

Central LA

East LA

San Gabriel Valley

San Fernando Valley

South LA


South Bay

Antelope Valley

County of Los Angeles (countywide)

City of Los Angeles (citywide)


Other (please specify below):

How do you plan to use these resources to make change? (check all that apply)

Conduct research

Engage residents and stakeholders

Implement a pilot or new project

Expand a pilot or program

Mobilize for systems change

Advocate with policymakers and leaders

Implement and track policy

Other (please specify below):

How will your proposal improve the following “Play” metrics? (check all that apply)

Access to open space and park facilities

Number of children enrolled in afterschool programs

Per capita crime rates

Percentage of residents that feel safe in their neighborhoods

Attendance at major league sporting events

Residents within 1⁄4 mile of a park (Dream Metric)

Number of residents with easy access to a “vibrant” park (Dream Metric)

Number of parks with intergenerational play opportunities (Dream Metric)

Number (and quality) of informal spaces for play (Dream Metric)

Describe in greater detail how you will make LA the best place to play.


Basketball is the most popular recreational sport in the United States across all ages and genders. The balance of individual contribution and potential for group excellence makes basketball a game that is easily shared with friends, family, neighbors and strangers.

Project Backboard believes that improving basketball court facilities and installing artwork in public parks encourages greater park usage by all ages and genders. Increased park usage generated by facility renovation has the potential to impact park safety and build stronger communities through increasing social interaction between different groups.

Project Backboard's prior initiative in Memphis resulted in 18 renovated basketball courts and 37 individual works of art, created by community members and working artists, including graphic backboards, on court murals, tile mosaics and kinetic sculptures.

Installing artwork on and around basketball courts brings creative thinking into the heart of communities and inspires people to imagine a future outside of their current circumstances. Individually designed courts in each neighborhood also creates a sense of ownership and community pride which helps ensure that courts won’t be further marred with graffiti or trash and makes parks safer.

Los Angeles has a rich history of outdoor basketball and a number of successful college and professional athletes have developed their game on LA's public outdoor courts. While Los Angeles has some great outdoor courts, it also has a number of courts which could be improved through community engagement and art enhancements. Working with a variety of partners and stakeholders our goal is to pilot a park enhancement in the next year with the goal of ultimately completing at least 15 park projects and setting up a trustees organization for public basketball courts.

Once courts are completed and public artwork is installed, parks will be activated with a free Full-Court 21 basketball tournament, including live music and a community block party. Full-Court 21 allows all ages and genders to participate without requiring teammates.

Los Angeles can be a better place to play and the success of Project Backboard's efforts in Memphis will easily to a city that loves basketball and has weather suitable to outdoor basketball all year long.

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.


The first step in this process is visiting and photographing all the public outdoor basketball courts in the city and assigning a numeric value to the condition of each court, including grading the surroundings, rims, backboards, lines, etc. From their courts will be selected based on proximity to local partners, strength of stakeholders groups and the needs of the court. Completed courts will be evaluated by tracking usage over time, depth of local engagement, number of volunteers and participants in basketball tournaments.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed? (check all that apply)

Money (financial capital)

Volunteers/staff (human capital)

Publicity/awareness (social capital)

Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles, etc.)


Technical infrastructure (computers, etc.)

Community outreach

Network/relationship support

Quality improvement research

Other (please specify below):

3 Pink talk bubble tail c96b4a07ef1417e25d0bcf5c4cba4766b8bbf0382f07677990a9d5577885d4d7

Thanks, I appreciate the comment! I have had some really great artists and community members donate creativity and time - Dan

by ProjectBackboard
6 months ago

I love the community aspect of Basketball. Your graphics are beautiful and a beautiful space to play brings people together even more. I wish you luck in pursuing this in LA!!

by trosenthal
6 months ago

Having recently relocated to Los Angeles to raise my two young boys closer to extended family, I am very excited about the opportunity to continue the work I started in Memphis and I really look forward to making LA an even greater city that it already is!

Thanks everyone for your support!


by ProjectBackboard
6 months ago

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Award topvotedidea 5a5ae14e3d56a10363ea2a398cece46cf4df891213cbe68677c19d8903a1932a
Circle 1 inactive e7784182a1bd5eace578987db27fc19ec6337f418c48c6c8732605b9043d50d0 Step1 title submission inactive cde083e53089b973e7c9dc80a44a038c1ce4cf3b2650aeb5549157d1ed58a2d9

Submission Began
Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Submission Ended
Tuesday, October 06, 2015
at 07:00 PM UTC

Circle 2 inactive 74a43088831beb43fdbd7591ef5d50a5a7a26ff92c9e8ed489782459fa31a8d9 Step2 title voting inactive 96be722f53c417edddb5742ba9a6dc2fd403f7e4f6c19dbe883d50d20d93689d

Voting Began
Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Voting Ended
Tuesday, November 03, 2015
at 08:00 PM UTC

Circle 3 83da7a9432aeea960e1a9e9ee93e7ea1221af6c8f42b27964f2e9999d94b2b8d Step3 title 3d9e2a65d6ea1ad301f8fc607f5f828bd96362932c71d81c0da5b1fd964422b0
A shady oasis for everyone in Grand Park
A shady oasis for everyone in Grand Park

Winner Announced
Tuesday, December 08, 2015