It's been a long time coming, but Angel McCoughtry has finally made it happen. Thoughts of renovating and creating her own basketball court had crossed the WNBA All-Star's mind for years, but she had never taken any concrete steps toward that goal until now.
McCoughtry acknowledges that at first she wasn't really sure what would happen with the idea after pitching it to adidas.
To her astonishment, the Three Stripes wanted to make her dream of having her own court and, more importantly, giving back to the community a reality. They wanted to rock with her vision as well as make it a reality.
“Are you serious, I'm thinking, ‘Oh, my God.’” When McCoughtry learned that adidas wanted to assist her in putting the project together, that’s all she could think at first.
The Shively Park "Reach for the Stars" basketball court was unveiled by the five-time gold medalist and adidas this past Friday. Project Backboard built a colorful and intricately patterned court, with a variety of colors and geometrically shaped patterns, as the outcome of their refurbishing work, which they began organizing things for last fall but chose to start painting in the summer to ensure the paint would dry.
Reds, according to McCoughtry, are an important part of the mural's color scheme since they symbolize both Louisville and the neighborhood. She also likes the color purple, and there are traces of yellow.
There are only faint glimpses of other colors, which make the area appear brighter. The court and that location will simply draw a lot of attention from everyone.
The court, which can be found less than ten minutes from the University of Louisville campus, also boasts a magnificent painting of a female basketball player raising her arms in victory.
Reflecting on it, McCoughtry said, "I guess what the mural symbolizes is just conquering adversity and standing out”
“I adore the court because there is such a strong emotional component to it. There is a Black woman's face there. There aren't many courts with female figures, in general.”
On the court, she also wrote the words "Reach for the Stars," the name of her most recent single, in her own handwriting. That particular aspect is even more meaningful to McCoughtry since she had the chance to combine her love of music and her enthusiasm for the game.
Although basketball has always been my top hobby, I've been producing music for a very long time. With this, people can download the music and truly be inspired by it as well, just to feel connected to the court and to the idea of aiming for the stars. Just so people can see, ‘Wow, you really can achieve anything.’ Right now, I'm squatting on a basketball court that I and adidas helped build. It is fantastic.”
The five-time gold champion from Baltimore recalls how "tough" the courts were there when she was growing up. She didn't see any big businesses or celebrities at the time renovating the area for use by kids like herself. Even though she spent most of her time on campus and at the program's training facilities when she was in Louisville, she did pass by Shively Park once or twice. She had heard a lot about it.
For McCoughtry, participating in the renovation of the court is a full circle moment since it gives her the ability to serve the community and, she hopes, motivates other female hoopers to "know their importance" and establish their own courts.
"I believe that will begin to escalate, and before you know it, there will be more women with access to courts. The intention is to motivate more women to pursue careers in these fields and raise the bar for themselves. It's time, in my opinion, that we begin to demand more of ourselves in terms of worth, value, and contributions.”
In addition, it's about the female hoopers of the future opening doors for new chances. McCoughtry's resume boasts multiple gold medals, the title of WNBA Rookie of the Year, five appearances at WNBA All-Star games, and two times being named to the All-WNBA First Team. She has been an inspiration throughout her entire career.
Her outstanding history is only enhanced by the fact that a court now bears her picture. She has big plans for the newly renovated court at Shively Park, hoping it will open up even more doors for her and the development of women's basketball.