South Carolina, California communities get court renovations courtesy of NBA and WNBA All-Stars

Basketball superstars Klay Thompson, of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, and A’ja Wilson, of the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces, surprised local communities in California and South Carolina with refurbished basketball courts ahead of the holiday season.

The two Olympians were recruited by Buffalo Wild Wings® and Mtn Dew Legend® to support renovations at KIPP San Francisco College Prep in San Francisco and Hyatt Park Community Center in the City of Columbia.

In partnership with nonprofit Project Backboard, Thompson and Wilson advocated for the resurfacing of courts, adding partner organization logos, and original artwork and design by local artists.

Building fun and inspiring spaces for youth, to grow their love for the game, was the goal.

“Man, just try everything,” Thompson told the surprised KIPP San Francisco College Prep students at the unveiling earlier this month.

“When I was young I wish I did more, to be honest. I wish I learned a language. I wish I played an instrument, but I am trying to play catch-up now,” said the four-time NBA Champion and five-time NBA All-Star.

“So be open-minded to everything, and you’ll be successful.”

Dr. Barbara Bayoke (Right), Principal of KIPP San Francisco College Preparatory welcomed Golden State Warriors Klay Thompson to celebrate a refurbished basketball court. (Peter Barreras/AP Images for Buffalo Wild Wings® and MTN DEW LEGEND®)

“San Franciscohas become my home and I care about this community deeply –I cannot wait to see the future legends that will dominate the game on this new court.”

“Having an inspiring place to play is important to any athlete, which is why partnering with Buffalo Wild Wings and Mtn Dew Legend to revamp this court for the community has been so rewarding,” said Thompson.

Klay Thompson of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors has a 3-point shorting contest during the unveiling of the newly renovated basketball court at KIPP San Francisco College Prep. (Peter Barreras/AP Images for Buffalo Wild Wings® and MTN DEW LEGEND®)

Abriella Sammy and Luis Perez designed the artwork featured throughout the KIPP San Francisco College Preparatory gymnasium.

This court refurbishing program is an extension of the longstanding relationship between Buffalo Wild Wings and PepsiCo.

“Our partnership with Buffalo Wild Wings is all about celebrating sports and creating incredible experiences for the fans that love them,” said Scott Finlow, Chief Marking Officer, PepsiCo Global

“This community effort was a big win for us,” said Finlow.

“It was an honor to partner with Buffalo Wild Wings and basketball legends, Klay and A’ja, to create something special for these communities and support these local athletes as they make legendary moves on and off the court.”

A’ja Wilson celebrates with locals on newly refurbished court on in San Francisco. (Nora WilliamsAP Images for Buffalo Wild Wings® and MTN DEW LEGEND®)

Simultaneously, across the country, power forward A’ja Wilson visited her hometown of Columbia, South Carolina to unveil a new community court at the Hyatt Park / Leroy Moss Multi-Purpose Center.

The two-time WNBA MVP and four-time WNBA All-Star addressed the crowd and performed a ceremonial “first layup” on the revamped court designed by local artists, Charmaine Minniefield and Cienna Minniefield.

“Growing up in South Carolina and having a space to call my ‘home court’ has shaped me into the person and athlete that I am today,” said Wilson.

“I chose to upgrade the basketball court at Hyatt Park, near my grandparents’ house, to provide this incredible community with a space for the next generation of legends to play and perfect their craft.”

“I’m grateful to partner with Buffalo Wild Wings and Mtn Dew Legend to give back to the place that has given me so much,” said Wilson.

A’ja Wilson (Center) poses with City of Columbia (SC) Councilman Joe Taylor (Far Left), City Manager Teresa Wilson (Second from left), Mayor Daniel Rickenmann (Third from left), Councilwoman Tina Herbert (Second from right) and Councilman Howard Duvall (Far right). (City of Columbia)

“Whether watching or playing sports, we understand that the environment can sometimes make or break the experience,” said Stuart Brown, Executive Director of Buffalo Wild Wings Foundation.

“It’s our hope that by reimagining these courts with Mtn Dew Legend and two legendary basketball players, we’re fueling the champions of the next generation,” said Brown.

The City of Columbia’s Parks and Recreation Department, in a released statement, expressed gratitude for the “partner organizations funding this project.”

“We also wish to recognize and thank A’ja Wilson, former USC athlete, current WNBA player, winner of the Gold Medal, and NCAA Basketball Champion.”

“This project is a direct result of her support of Columbia.”

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