LONGWOOD, Florida. — If you’re an outdoor gamer, as many of us in Florida are with great weather that allows for year-round play, 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 about doing it in an environment where there is a sense of community and belonging.
Expect it to go deeper at 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 is working in collaboration with local partner Swishh Dreams.
On Thursday, September 22, these organizations teamed up to unveil Candyland’s renovated basketball court, with a design suited to the location. The project’s artist, Swishh Dreams founder Hannah Hunter, paired basketball with the classic Candy Land board game.
“It just started as a doodle,” said Hunter, a basketball enthusiast whose mission is to find and renovate neglected outdoor public basketball courts. “Then I kind of worked on it until it was a nice field design. I added Netman in the middle. He’s our mascot, a magical basketball cartoon character who saves I added the Magic and NBA Top Shot logos (also).
Impressed with the design and overall energy of the park, Magic forward Franz Wagner showed up to celebrate the occasion and helped Community Ambassador Bo Outlaw run a basketball clinic for kids. children aged 10 to 12 in the field.
“It’s really cool,” said the 21-year-old, who just returned the day before from Germany where he helped his national team win bronze at EuroBasket 2022. “From my experience, we didn’t have anything like it back home in Germany I’m sure the kids will have a blast… Looks great.
Longwood Mayor Matt Morgan, a former professional wrestling superstar and college basketball player at Monmouth University in New Jersey and Chaminade University in Hawaii, was blown away by the transformation of the court.
Delighted to have the support of so many philanthropic agencies, including magic, he believes it 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. Sport. In addition to basketball, the complex includes baseball and softball fields, new pickleball courts, a futsal (concrete football) field, a skate park, a Velosolutions pump track, which is the only one in Florida center, and more.
“In terms of the scale of a project for our community and our city, it was massive,” 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’ve proven it here with this park… The thought process behind it is that we want our young people to have safe places to go and either learn a new sport, be part of a team, and so on… We do a lot of things with this park. That’s why we have now renamed it Candyland Sports Complex – no longer Candyland Park because the theme is true, we only have great sports here and we are very proud of that.
As NBA Top Shot, the exclusive home for on-court NBA highlights digital collectibles, expanded its online community, they also wanted to find ways to connect them in real life. Candyland Sports Complex, through their partnership with Project Backboard, Swishh Dreams and the Magic, was the perfect location for their first of what they anticipate will be many field renovations across the country.
Working side-by-side with NBA teams, such as the Magic, is essential to their long-term community goals.
“Team partnership is key here,” said Meg Patten, who leads NBA Top Shot events and experiences. “We are an official NBA partner and working with the Magic has been exceptional. They are a first-class, world-class organization. They have been integral to the success of this (court unveiling).”