Carmelo Anthony Opens Newly Refurbished Basketball Court at Red Hook Houses
RED HOOK — Dreams seemed to rain on Red Hook — dreams of making it big, dreams of meeting a hero and dreams of helping a community — even as the sun beat down mercilessly on the neighborhood Thursday.
NBA All-Star player Carmelo Anthony returned to his old home to open two newly refurbished basketball courts in the Red Hook Houses, where the player spent his early childhood.
“It’s really, honestly, a dream come true,” Anthony said.
Dozens of men, women and young players gathered around the courts at the Red Hook East Houses at 62 Mill St., some standing on the sidelines, while others pressed against the fences under the sweltering sun, just to get a glimpse of the NBA superstar.
Desean Steele, 11, who has been a fan of Anthony since he was 7 years old, remembers when the Knicks’ star first helped out the community after Hurricane Sandy.
“He was really there for us,” said the young basketball player, a student at PAVE Academy Charter School.
As for the court, “it represents my favorite person in Brooklyn,” said Desean, referring to Anthony. “I look up to him like a brother.”
Anthony’s foundation has restored six basketball courts in Syracuse and three in Puerto Rico, but this is his first in New York City, according to a press release.
Kenneth Williams, 14, said he hopes the refurbished court will bring new, talented players to the area.
"I feel like I could get a lot better because new people will come," said Kenneth, who has been playing basketball since elementary school.
“Every time a young girl or boy here in Red Hook comes outside to play a game of basketball… these renovations will be a constant reminder that NBA’s 2012 – 2013’s leading scorer had their interests in mind,” Rhea said.
Anthony recalled his days at the housing projects; many of them spent playing basketball, he said, at the opening.
“I had a safe haven,” said the former Red Hook local, who said he wanted children in the neighborhood to have the same experience.
“Red Hook is my home,” he said. “This is where it started.”
Although many talked of making it to pro sports, as Anthony did after growing up in Red Hook Houses, not all were convinced.
“A lot of dreams don’t come true,” said 12-year-old Devin Corbin.
Despite his skepticism, as he watched young players like himself blaze across the court, Devin said he did have a dream.
“Make it to the NBA,” he said.