Kings on the Court

Citrus Heights, CA  |  Story and photos by Jacqueline Fox
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John Rinehart, Sacramento Kings president of business operations, huddles with kids and Kings’ official mascot, Slamson the Lion, prior to the grand opening of the new Madera Park Basketball Court July 19. Photo by Jacqueline Fox

Madera Basketball Court Gets a Kings-Style Makeover

Citrus Heights, CA (MPG) - Shooting Hoops at Madera Park Court will never be the same again and that’s a good thing.

The basketball court at Madera Park, suffering from significant wear and tear, was given a complete makeover and unveiled with an official ribbon cutting ceremony July 19.  The $30,000 overhaul was made possible through a partnership between the Burlingame, CA-based Good Tidings Foundation, the Sacramento Kings and the Kings Foundation and Kaiser Permanente, with support from the city and Sunrise Recreation and Park District.

Good Tidings has partnered with Kaiser, the Kings and other California sports clubs, including the San Francisco Giants, as well as Olympic athletes to fund the revamp of roughly 80 basketball courts and, in total, 160 community athletic venues across California since its inception in 1994, according to founder and president, Larry Harper.  Those include the rehab of basketball courts, baseball, football and street hockey fields, and even volleyball courts at neglected or underserved community centers and parks across California.

The Madera Park Court is the fourth such project in the Sacramento area completed by Good Tidings and its supporters. The foundation and its partners completed a revamp of the St. Andrew Basketball Court in 2014, as well as overhauls of the courts at Gardenland and Southside parks in 2016.

The primary goal of the projects and the overall mission of Good Tidings, says Harper, is to strengthen community pride by promoting healthy, active lifestyles for youth and making it possible for kids to play sports on good-quality fields and courts.

“This is just one more example of our joint efforts to build new courts and playing fields for kids in those areas where there is a need for additional support,” Harper said. “We are all about helping kids in communities across our region make a connection between sports and healthy lifestyles. And we are very grateful to have amazing partnerships with Kaiser and the Kings.”

Chris Palkowski, physician in chief at Kaiser Permanente’s Roseville Medical Center echoed the sentiment.  “We are just really proud to partner with the Kings and the City of Citrus Heights on this very special project,” he said. “This is what we to be doing in our community: promoting healthy lifestyles and making sure kids have access to facilities that support that.

Harper said there are plans for as many as eight more basketball court remodeling projects across the county.

Throngs of local kids, Kings’ officials, including their mascot Slamson the Lion, representatives from the County of Sacramento, the city, Good Tidings and Kaiser Permanente were on hand for the ribbon-cutting ceremony, officially opening the new, brilliantly painted purple and gray court, sporting a breakaway hoop and pro-style turf featuring a large Kings logo and those of the project’s supporters.

“I love it,” said Logan Urban, 10 who, alongside his younger brother, Landon, 8, joined more than 350 kids for the opening.  Although both admitted to being soccer players, primarily, the two agreed the court was enough to entice them to shoot more hoops. “I’ll definitely come to use the court,” said Landon.

John Rinehart, the Kings’ president of business operations, huddled with Slamson and the kids on the new court just prior to the opening.  He said the Kings and its Foundation are very proud to be part of the ongoing effort to bring high-quality playing fields and courts to areas where they can make the biggest impact.

“This is what our foundation stands for,” said Rinehart. “We want kids in every community to have a chance to learn to play sports on basketball courts, football fields, soccer field and other locations that incite a true sense of pride and ownership.”

Following the opening of the new Madera Court, the Kings offered a free basketball clinic for all the kids in attendance. The clinic was led by former Kings player and Junior Kings Coach, Henry Turner, with a little help, naturally, from Slamson.