Ahead of the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles and in an effort to improve youth fitness and access to sports, the Clippers Foundation will announce Monday a $10-million donation to the L.A. Parks Foundation to renovate all indoor and outdoor basketball courts in city parks.
“This is probably the best sports town in the world but we have facilities that haven’t matched that greatness,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said. The hope is that improvements to public basketball courts will encourage more boys and girls to get involved in sports, leading to healthier lifestyles.
The donation will be spent on renovating 350 basketball courts in city parks by 2020, Garcetti’s office said.
Clippers owner Steve Ballmer said the nets and backboards at some outdoor basketball courts in lower-income neighborhoods need renovations.
“For the amount of use these basketball courts get, it’s worthwhile to improve them,” Ballmer said.
Other indoor basketball courts will receive new wood floors and equipment upgrades, said Judith Kieffer, executive director of the L.A. Parks Foundation.
“This is a wonderful gift that will go towards assets that need to be restored,” she said.
In a recent survey by the Department of Recreation and Parks of 344 indoor and outdoor basketball courts in the city, 104 received a C grade.
Renovating the city’s public basketball courts, particularly in more economically disadvantaged areas, will have a long-term effect beyond the 2028 Olympics, Garcetti said.
“Too often the conditions of courts are a barrier and based on your ZIP Code could depend whether you have fun, become an athlete or get healthier,” Garcetti said. “No parents will ever have to think twice again before they send their daughter or son to go play in a city park facility.”
After reviewing the amount budgeted to maintain basketball courts in parks, Garcetti said he realized improving the facilities would take longer than he would have liked.
“It probably wouldn’t have been finished in time for the Olympics,” he said.
Discussions to renovate basketball courts began in February when Garcetti began reaching out to potential partners.
At first, the goal was to collaborate with multiple partners to raise enough funds to renovate some outdoor or indoor basketball courts, Garcetti’s office said.
But when Ballmer expressed interest, the initiative expanded to include all basketball courts in city parks.
Ballmer, who lives in Seattle but spends a large portion of his time in Los Angeles, said the decision to make the donation was simple and made sense on two fronts: investing in the city and its youth.