- Category: News
10 Nov 2011
- Written by Kelley Evans
More options for sports and fitness are coming soon to Greater Memphis thanks to Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway, who announced plans for a 100,000 square-foot facility that will open in the Cordova area. More options for sports and fitness are coming soon to Greater Memphis thanks to former NBA All-Star, University of Memphis legend and hometown hero Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway, who announced plans for a 100,000 square-foot facility that will open in the Cordova area.
| Penny Hardaway (right) and LeBron James agree on the need for Penny Hardaway’s FastBreak Courts. (Photo by Kelley Evans)|
Now an expansion is in the works. Adjacent to the fields will sit Penny Hardaway’s FastBreak Courts. The $20 million project will showcase a sports rehabilitation clinic, championship court and six additional regulation-basketball courts that will be of multi-use. The courts will be available for volleyball games, wrestling matches and other indoor activities.
The announcement was made Tuesday in front of a small crowd and as sealed with a toast of sprite. Besides Hardaway, on hand were representatives of Sprite/Coca-Cola, a sponsor of the project; Campbell Clinic Chief of Staff Dr. Frederick M. Azar, project partner; and Miami Heat All-Star LeBron James.
“Our goal is to improve communities in inspired ways, and we’re relying on local residents to show their support for the sports complexes where we can make the biggest impact,” said Andy Hill, market unit vice president of sales at Coca-Cola.
The project is important to Hardaway because it provides an alternative for youth in Memphis as well as a state-of-the-art sports complex.
“When I was growing up in Memphis, I had two choices, sports and gangs,” said Hardaway. “I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to play sports….I want kids to have the same opportunities I had to participate.”
Hardaway said that the project will include children from the inner-city and he plans to provide transportation.
“Everything I do affects the inner-city,” Hardaway said. “I grew up in the inner-city and this is no different. We feel like if we build it we’ll get the youth here. There are transportation companies that I will include and the facility is on the green-belt so they can actually ride bikes.”
Campbell Clinic will operate a sports rehabilitation clinic on-site and partnering with the clinic is a key component for Hardaway.
“Campbell Clinic has a long history of taking care of athletes in the Memphis area, and we share with Penny Hardaway a passion for youth sports,” Dr. Azar said. “We are proud to be partnering with Penny and Gameday in developing this state-of-the-art sports medicine facility that we believe will change the future of youth sports for Memphis.”
Penny Hardaway’s FastBreak Courts is an operating division of the Gameday Healthy Kids Foundation. The foundation’s mission includes encouraging youth to participate in sports and reducing childhood obesity. Training clinics for kids are held to teach healthy habits and provide sports instruction.
“I am partnering with Gameday because of their nationally recognized expertise in operating youth sports programs and their ongoing relationships with national youth sports organizations,” Hardway said. “They also have shown a commitment to serving communities throughout Shelby County, and I will be working with them to expand this outreach.”
Community partners include FCA Baseball, RBI, Streets Ministries, Boys and Girls Clubs, and the Bluff City Classic.
“I know firsthand just how important it is for youth to have a neighborhood basketball park where they can play ball early in life,” said James.
The projection is that Penny Hardaway’s FastBreak Courts will generate over $14.5 million in annual visitor spending and directly support 236 local jobs.
The initiative is a part of Hardaway’s ongoing efforts to promote sports in the Memphis community. In 2010 he revitalized the Bluff City Classic, a summer basketball league that provides a high level of competition for college, professional, and elite high school players. In 2011, the Classic added girls basketball, thanks in part to support from Coca-Cola. Hardaway also provided funding to build the University of Memphis Sports Hall of Fame.