NFL player Antoine Bethea donates basketball court to Newport News


NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — NFL player and Denbigh High School alumnus Antoine Bethea is giving back to his roots in Newport News.

On Tuesday, officials from the city and the Bethea Family Foundation gathered for a small ceremony to break ground on the Antoine Bethea Basketball Court.

“It means a lot, not only to me, but to the Bethea Family Foundation and obviously to the city as well,” said Bethea.

The court will be built directly behind the Denbigh Comunity Center. Officials say it should be completed by September, as work on the court was previously delayed because of the coronavirus, Bethea said he’s very excited to get started. The court will have bleachers, lights and a fence.

“Coming back to your hometown and giving back to the community — having that platform — that’s what it’s all about,” said Bethea.

Bethea, who most recently played for the Arizona Cardinals and New York Giants, is a Super Bowl champion and a three-time Pro Bowler. But this football star says basketball also played a big role in his life.

“Basketball is my first love. Growing up, that’s what we did. That’s what me and my friends did, we got out and we played basketball, you know. It’s a lot of cardio, a lot of exercise and a lot of kids, you know, they can do that. You can get four people and come to a basketball court and have a good time.”

Bethea wants this court to be a place kids can come to play, and a place for the community he loves to gather.

For Bethea, Newport News means everything.

“From the grit, the grind, the good, the bad, I embody Newport News, I embody what the people stand for. What the people encourage. You know all my success — I look back to Newport News. I feel if it wasn’t for Newport News I wouldn’t be the person who I am today.”

Bethea already has an eye on the future. He hopes to build similar courts in other areas around his hometown.

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