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The Russell Westbrook Community Court: Clippers' Philanthropic Impact on South LA

The Los Angeles Clippers have once again demonstrated their commitment to making a positive impact on the community. In a ribbon-cutting ceremony held at Jesse Owens Park in South LA's Gramercy Park neighborhood, future Hall of Famer and Clippers guard, Russell Westbrook, unveiled the newly renovated basketball court. This court, now officially named the Russell Westbrook Community Court, is part of the Clippers Foundation's initiative to refurbish and build community courts across LA County.

Giving Back: Westbrook's Why Not? Foundation

Prior to the court unveiling ceremony, Russell Westbrook and his Why Not? Foundation hosted their 12th annual Thanksgiving Food Distribution event. This event, held in partnership with the Clippers, aimed to provide 1,000 meals to families in need. Westbrook's philanthropic efforts go beyond the basketball court, as he believes in the power of giving back to the community that raised him.

For Russell Westbrook, the ceremony at Jesse Owens Park held a special significance. This was the same court where he honed his skills and played basketball during his formative years. Growing up in South LA, Westbrook did not have a traditional path to greatness. Unlike many of his NBA peers, he was not a highly sought-after recruit in high school. In fact, he only began to excel in basketball during his late teens.

"A lot of people who are in the NBA now have been good since they were eight. I wasn't good until I was 17." - Russell Westbrook

 Westbrook's talent and leadership skills caught the attention of Ben Howland, who was coaching at UCLA at the time. Howland decided to visit Westbrook's high school gym and was impressed by what he saw. This chance encounter led to Westbrook's recruitment to UCLA and ultimately paved the way for his NBA career.

Russell Westbrook played two seasons at UCLA before being selected fourth overall in the 2008 NBA Draft by the Seattle Supersonics, who later relocated to Oklahoma City. Throughout his career, Westbrook earned the nickname "Mr. Triple Double" for his ability to consistently record double-digit figures in three statistical categories. In the 2016-17 season, he was awarded the league's Most Valuable Player (MVP) title.

In 2018, the Clippers Foundation pledged $10 million to the LA Parks Foundation for the renovation of all 350 indoor and outdoor basketball courts in the city. This initiative, known as the Clippers Community Courts project, aimed to provide accessible and high-quality basketball facilities for the community to enjoy.

Last summer, the foundation celebrated the opening of the 350th Clippers Community Court at the Michelle and Barack Obama Sports Center in South Los Angeles. The refurbishment of Jesse Owens Park's basketball court marks the continued expansion of the initiative, bringing the total number of community courts in Southern California to nearly 500.

he Clippers' commitment to building community courts reflects their dedication to fostering positive change in the lives of South LA residents. These courts provide a safe and inclusive space for individuals of all ages to come together, enjoy the game of basketball, and build strong community bonds.

Through his involvement in the Russell Westbrook Community Court project, Westbrook aims to inspire the next generation of athletes and leaders from his hometown. He understands the importance of giving back and hopes to create opportunities for others, just as opportunities were created for him.

The Russell Westbrook Community Court at Jesse Owens Park represents the Clippers' ongoing efforts to make a difference in South LA. By refurbishing and building community courts throughout LA County, the team is providing valuable resources for the community to come together, stay active, and foster a sense of unity.

Russell Westbrook's personal connection to the court adds an extra layer of meaning to the project. From his humble beginnings in South LA to his successful NBA career, Westbrook's journey serves as an inspiration to others. His philanthropic endeavors, alongside the Clippers' commitment to community development, showcase the power of sports to bring about positive change.

Through the Russell Westbrook Community Court and the Clippers Community Courts project, the team continues to make a lasting impact on the lives of South LA residents. As the community gathers on these courts, friendships are forged, dreams are nurtured, and a sense of pride and belonging is fostered.

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