Vucevic, Magic Team Up With Chase to Unveil New Court at Local School

By Josh Cohen
Jan. 23, 2016

ORLANDO – Sprinkled around Orlando you will notice several Magic-themed basketball courts outside various elementary schools. In fact, there are now eight of these refurbished courts for children from different schools to play and stay fit on.

On Saturday, Jan. 23, Ridgewood Park Elementary School was the latest school to get a brand new court. And like it was when they helped restore the previous seven courts, the Orlando Magic and Chase expect the students at Ridgewood Park to reap all the benefits.

On hand to unveil and celebrate the new layout was Magic center Nikola Vucevic, who recognizes the importance of a safe and enjoyable setting for kids to play basketball and exercise.

“This is a really awesome thing for the community to give these kids a chance to play different sports on a brand new court,” Vucevic said. “It’s really fun to be part of this.”

“Putting a smile on kids faces, there is nothing better than that,” he added.

Along with Magic Community Ambassadors Nick Anderson and Bo Outlaw, Vucevic helped teach kids a thing or two about the game he loves. They hosted a mini hoops clinic on the new court to show them some simple basketball fundamentals. Saturday’s event was also a tip-off to the Magic’s Black History Month celebration presented by Chase.

The faculty and students at Ridgewood Park Elementary were also presented with $2,500 worth of new physical education equipment. As has been noticed after prior court refurbishments by the Magic and Chase, more opportunity in sports and more emphasis on exercise can lead to more success in the classroom.

“It goes back to fitness, we talk about being healthy, eating the right things and to have this court here is going to help them become even more fit,” Ridgewood Park Elementary Principal Deborah Coffie said.

Earlier this month, the Magic and Chase surprised the students at Ridgewood Park with the announcement that their school was next for a court upgrade. After this assembly, all the kids had an opportunity to help decide how they wanted the new court to look. It also helped them prepare a few musical and dance performances at Saturday’s big unveiling.

As Champion of the Community partners, the Magic and Chase have been working together on community projects that impact and benefit Central Florida. Since the partnership began, together they have refurbished eight community sports facilities with a goal of completing 10 total courts. The two are working to support local communities and to celebrate the Magic’s multicultural platforms, including the Magic’s Black History Month Presented by Chase and Noche Latina Presented by Chase.

“Through our partnership with the Magic, it’s been phenomenal to be able to reward the kids for their hard work and support their pursuit of education, health and fitness,” JP Morgan & Chase Executive Director Joe Terry said. “We’ve got more court refurbishments to do and the leadership team with the Magic have just been phenomenal to work with and the entire organization has really been there to support everything we’ve been able to do together.”

Other Magic Black History Month Presented by Chase activities include the Black History Month celebration night on Fri., Feb. 5 at the Magic vs. Clippers matchup, tipoff set for 7 p.m. The night will include a pregame Black History Month Showcase at Fan Fest outside of Amway Center on Church St., featuring local step and dance groups. In addition, during the game, Sisaundra Lewis, from The Voice, will be singing the National Anthem and The Craig Lewis Band, top five finalist from Season 10 of America’s Got Talent, will perform during halftime. There will also be a business networking luncheon in partnership with the African-American Chamber of Commerce. Ticket information for the Magic’s Black History Month Celebration on Feb. 5 can be found at www.orlandomagic.com/blackhistorymonth.

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