Thunder, Sprite, Homeland Give Pitts Park Special Makeover

Nearly every kid has childhood memories of growing up with a local basketball court close by to play with friends.

At Pitts Park in northeast Oklahoma City, the future generations will have a court they can be truly proud of and can enjoy for years to come thanks to the Thunder, Sprite and Homeland. On Friday, along with the help of Thunder players Kendrick Perkins, Thabo Sefolosha and Cole Aldrich, children from the neighborhood surrounding the Pitts Park Community Center had a chance to break in the brand new basketball court. Smiling faces were everywhere as kids dribbled the ball on the refurbished court that features Thunder and NBA logos and shooting on hoops with new backboards and goals.

“It’s always a pleasure to just come back and see the kids have a smile on their faces,” Perkins said. “I think it’s a wonderful thing with Sprite and the Thunder and the whole state of Oklahoma and the city of Oklahoma City what they’re doing to give back to the community… We try to do anything that we can to keep kids out of trouble and just keep them where they’re going down a positive path.”

The $21,000 renovation was celebrated by the community at large, with over one hundred members of the surrounding area coming out to show their support. Thanks to the partnership and funding from the Thunder, Sprite and Homeland, the much-used court was given a massive upgrade. Phillip Payment, Homeland’s Vice President of Marketing, was proud to see the hard work paid off.

“We value our partnership with the Thunder and Great Plains Coca Cola,” Payment said. “We work strongly with the Oklahoma City Thunder in giving back to the community… It’s wonderful to know that we can be a part of refurbishing something that needed it and is going to be so used by these kids in the community.”

As regular partners, Payment and Great Plains Coca Cola’s Vice President Jim Marvel have seen the dedication the Thunder has made to improving the Oklahoma City community wherever possible. Events like Friday’s are a perfect opportunity for the Thunder and its partners to continue doing what they do best – connecting with members of the region on a personal basis.

“(The Thunder) has done a great job of already investing in other parks here in Oklahoma City,” Marvel said. “We were thrilled to identify the opportunity here at Pitts Park to be able to spend part of the money from the Sprite Spark Parks program. It worked out really well.”

Pitts Park itself is a special location, located just north and east of downtown Oklahoma City. It is named after Riley Leroy Pitts, an American war hero who was the first African American officer to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, which his wife Eula Pitts, accepted after his passing in the Vietnam War. Eula Pitts was in attendance at the ceremony on Friday, and described that she and her family take great pride in the Park and surrounding area. To see such an amazing improvement made to the park brought her immense joy.

“The rest of the family, we are so honored and we are so pleased and we thank everyone that is here and comes and remembers him with us,” Pitts said. “I just think it’s wonderful and I hope it means something to the children that live here. This will give them a nice, beautiful place to come and play ball and have fun.”