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ODU Legends Give Back To Community With Dream Court

PUBLISHED June 30, 2022 | News

NORFOLK, Va. — In a time of the year that the dreams of young children explode with the free time of summer, the children at the Southeastern Boys and Girls Club on Monday received a new area to let some of those basketball dreams develop.

The City of Norfolk, in partnership with Nancy Lieberman Charities, former Old Dominion All-American Ticha Penicheiro, along with ODU alumni Wally and Linda Hailsip and the Southside Boys and Girls Club dedicated a Dream CourtTM at the facility. Lieberman is a Basketball Hall of Fame selection, two-time Olympian and the first female Head Coach of a Men’s Professional League in the Big 3.

Since the inception of the Dream CourtTM program in 2010, more than 115 courts have been installed across the United States to make basketball more accessible to children and provide an environment for them to play. Over three million youth play on these courts in the United States, with each court serving nearly 120 youth per day.

The Dream Court TM is a high school regulation size, 50’x84′, with two fiberglass basketball goals. It features a high-performance PowerGame surface from Sport Court ®, which is the national partner for Nancy Lieberman Charities of this program.

One common theme amongst all those that spoke was how this newly renovated basketball court is a space to be a kid, have fun and develop skills for life.

“This court is a chance for kids to build relationships, chance to breathe and have a place to go and be kids,” Lieberman said. She also challenged the kids to enjoy and let skills show. “The future is yours; this court is yours and no longer ours.” said Lieberman. “Take care of it and be mindful of the opportunities that can develop from this.”

The chance to work with the City of Norfolk, and each other, wasn’t lost on either Lieberman or Penicheiro nor was the chance to leave another mark in the city that helped develop both on and off the court.

“It was very important to have one here in Norfolk as this area took me from a basketball player, developed me as a champion and as a woman educationally with lifelong friendships,” Lieberman said.

For Penicheiro, the chance to work with a former ODU standout who she idolized upon her arrival in 1994, was something she wasn’t passing up.

“Norfolk has a special place in my heart as it has opened so many doors for me with the WNBA and beyond,” Penicheiro said. “Being able to team up with Nancy to bring this to the City of Norfolk is such a blessing. I have looked up to Nancy since I landed at ODU in 1994. Now we are teammates in providing dreams to the youth of Hampton Roads and I am very happy and honored to team with her.”

Wally Hailsip summarized how this court can benefit children on and off it. “Sports in general provides a great learning experience for kids growing up, developing leadership skills and learning how to work with a team,” he said. “Those are skills that can be sued throughout their lives and eventually lead them to colleges because the other part of a great life is a great education. Fifty years from now most of us won’t be here, but this court will be here and making the future leaders of the Tidewater area.”

The first event on the court helped get things off to a great start as the ODU women’s basketball team ran a clinic for the Boys and Girls Club to put the perfect end to a good afternoon.