A new “Space Jam” mural painted atop a Williamsburg basketball court to promote an upcoming sequel to the classic 1996 animated sports flick has completely ruined the blacktop, according to local ballers.
The court at Rodney Park North reopened with the Looney Tunes-themed makeover on Aug. 1, but the massive painted images of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tweety Bird, Sylvester, Lola Bunny, and Taz have created a slipping hazard for players, who say they’d rather not play at all than risk injury.
“I don’t even want to shoot on it because when you’re jumping and coming down, you could actually slip,” said Paul Travisano, a nearby resident and frequent visitor to the court. “Whatever paint they use is very slippery even on a dry day. You can really injure your ankle.”
Critics flocked to social media to vent their anger online over the new mural, blasting media company Get Animated for pulling such a daffy stunt.
“This court is too slick to play on because of the type of paint used. People will get injured — please fix it!” wrote Amy Hunt on the market outfit’s Instagram page.
Warner Bros. partnered with the city’s Park Department to renovate the court through a program called the Creative Courts initiative, which entitles organizations to paint a mural on “dated” sports courts for up to a year, according to a spokeswoman.
Meanwhile, a rep for Warner Bros. claimed that the blacktop has been temporarily closed while the studio works with the Parks Department to apply a coarse coat of silica sand to ensure proper footing there — but this reporter found the court wide open Wednesday afternoon, and had no trouble sliding on the admittedly damp surface “Risky Business” style for several feet.
Locals also griped that the makeover screwed up the court’s three-point line, which is now set up NBA style with straight lines instead of semi circles, making it unsuitable for a neighborhood ball court, according to Travisano.
“I don’t know why they did that,” he said. “Before, the park was exactly what it should be for a neighborhood park.”
And before the court reopened, the California movie studio duped locals by posting drone footage showing the correct lines superimposed on the mural using Photoshop, Travisano pointed out on Twitter.
Warner Bros. employed artists Evan Rossell and Dee Rosse to paint the mural, the latter of whom said that they used Parks Department-approved paint for the project, and that what locals are actually walking on is an overcoat applied by the city after they had finished.
“The paint used was court-approved paint by NYC Parks and Rec on our end (the actual cartoon). WE DID NOT PAINT LINES OR TOP COAT. Parks and Recs is fully responsible for the top coat used - we had absolutely no hand in that!” Rosse said on social media.
The court’s center lines do cut through the artists’ signatures, indicating that they were painted after they completed the artwork.
Travisano does admit that the city got something right by raising basketball hoops at the court to regulation heights during the renovation, but that doesn’t come close to making up for turning their blacktop into a slip ‘n’ slide.
“They actually fixed something,” he said. “The rims are actually better, but because they made the court so slick, you can’t use them.”
Correction: Due to an error in editing, this article previously stated the Parks Department would consider revising the Creative Courts initiative in light of the Rodney Park debacle. In truth, city officials are merely looking into fixing the basketball court there, and there are currently no expected policy changes as a result of the mural.
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