Every court has a story, and the Reuben “Shu” Niles Basketball Court is ready for its next chapter.
Located in Bedford-Stuyvesant’s Raymond Bush Playground, the court on Thursday won a national competition to receive a full renovation and upgrade after falling into disrepair in recent years.
Dunking on the opposition, Reuben Niles secured over 50% of the public vote in the Every Court Has A Story competition, dashing the hoop dreams of Clay McCloskey court on Pittsburgh’s North Side which came second with 42.6% of the vote.
Immortalized in the 1997 documentary Soul in the Hole, the court at Raymond Bush Playground on Marcus Garvey Blv is now set to receive crack repair, patch fill, resurfacing, color coating, and new backboards and rims thanks to Five-Star Basketball, Project Backboard and Local Hoops.
Local business owner and basketball enthusiast Martin Brewer was the driving force behind the court’s campaign to return the court to its former glory as there is “so much potential for community building in the park”.
“I use the court, probably daily, and it means a lot to a lot of people,” said Brewer, who owns the shop Black Star Vinyl across Madison Street from the court.
Right now, he said, the court is “playable” but it could do with quality nets and repairs to the many cracks in the floor of the court.
“It could do with sprucing up and I’m happy that we were able to come together as a community and secure the funding for the neighborhood,” he added.
The revamp of the court will be led by Project Backboard, a sponsor of the competition and specialists in renovating public basketball courts and installing large scale works of site-specific art on the surface.
The organization previously upgraded courts at St. Nicholas Park in Harlem and McCaffrey Playground in Hell’s Kitchen, and will visit the Bed-Stuy site next month to take measurements ahead of finalizing design plans.