NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — A basketball court donated by NFL player and Newport News native Antoine Bethea was unveiled on Tuesday.
Construction of the court started in July and dozens showed up for a ribbon-cutting behind the Denbigh Community Center.
“I’ve traveled the world and been able to see other cities and what they have to offer. I want that for Newport News as well,” Bethea.
The court is the first lighted court in the city and has LED lighting and a fence. It also meets high school regulations.
Mayor McKinley Price says he was thrilled to open the space for the community.
“We are also working to install free WiFi which will be available in upcoming months. There is much to be exciting about. It’s truly great to see this all come together,” Price said.
Bethea’s foundation, the Bethea Family Foundation, which he started with his wife, Samantha, donated the court.
“This is not anything but him and the desire to do good for the city that has given him so much,” she said.
Bethea says the idea behind the project was to inspire kids to get out and be active like he was a child.
“We went to different basketball courts and played outside. With just the way the future is going and the new generation, they’re not really outside,” he said.
The court is one of eight that will be built throughout the city over the next two to three years, according to Bethea.
But it’s not the only project he’s working on.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the foundation raised more than $50,000 through its Safe Cover Initiative to help 20 families stay in their homes.
Bethea says he’s worked with the city and other organizations to find people who need help.
“It’s a group effort,” he said. “The more we can get together, the more we can do.”
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