By Josh Cohen, OrlandoMagic.com
ORLANDO -- Tobias Harris was so impressed with the design of the newly refurbished Orlando Magic-themed basketball court outside Engelwood Elementary School that he thought it would be cool if he and his Magic teammates could practice and play on it.
“I love the court, I think we should make our home court like this,” Harris said with a chuckle after he helped unveil the court. “They got top of the line equipment here and the way it’s presented I think it’s really, really neat.”
The March 7 court renovation marks the sixth time the Magic and Chase have teamed up to refurbish a community sports facility. Earlier this year, Kyle O’Quinn helped undrape a redecorated court at Palmetto Elementary School. The Magic and Chase plan to restore 10 total courts in the area.
Those who attended and participated in the festivities at Engelwood Elementary also got a chance to celebrate Hispanic Heritage. Fans at the Mar. 6 game against the Sacramento Kings the night before the court unveiling helped celebrate Hispanic culture as part of Noche Latina night.
Providing kids with a safe place to play basketball will help encourage them to exercise and stay active. As a professional athlete and someone who spent countless hours growing up playing the game he loves, Harris recognizes how critical it is for kids today to play sports and stay physically fit.
“Nutrition and exercise is so key for me in my life,” Harris said. “In our society and the world today, it’s really a technology-based type of world we live in. There is iPads, there is iPhones. So keeping the kids active, keeping them in shape and getting them ready for fitness is really key.”
After the ceremony, Harris along with Magic Community Ambassadors Nick Anderson and Bo Outlaw hosted a mini-basketball clinic and taught fundamentals to kids on the new court.
The Magic and Chase also surprised the school with $2,000 in brand new physical education equipment.
As Champion of the Community partners, the Magic and Chase have been working together on community projects that impact and benefit Central Florida.
“I think it’s made a huge impact,” JP Morgan Chase District Manager Mary Picard said. “Not only are they able to enjoy the great new court and also equipment, but it’s also making an impact on how they can continue to stay educated and stay active.”
“This is really inspirational for the kids,” Harris said. “It just shows how active we (Magic and Chase) are in the community and how it’s really impacting lives. The smiles and cheers on their faces, it’s really important.”
Click on link below for photos:
Photo 1: On March 7 Magic forward Tobias Harris joined JP Morgan Chase District Manager Mary Picard, Magic VP of Corp. Partnership & Premium Activation Catherine Carlson, Magic Community Ambassadors Nick Anderson and Bo Outlaw, Magic Dancers, STUFF the Magic Mascot, Engelwood Elementary Principal Alex Reyes and Engelwood students for Magic/Chase’s court refurbishment ribbon cutting ceremony as part of the Hispanic Heritage Celebration. Photo taken by Gary Bassing.
Photo 2: Magic forward Tobias Harris spends time with students from Engelwood Elementary as part of the Magic and Chase’s court refurbishment unveiling at the school on March 7. Harris joined Magic Community Ambassadors Nick Anderson and Bo Outlaw in a mini-basketball clinic with the students to help them “break in” their new court. Photo taken by Gary Bassing.
Photo 3: Magic forward Tobias Harris and Magic Community Ambassador Bo Outlaw conduct a mini-basketball clinic on Engelwood Elementary’s newly refurbished court. The Magic and Chase teamed up on March 7 to unveil the school’s new court as part of the pair’s Hispanic Heritage Celebration. Photo taken by Gary Bassing.
Photo 4: Magic and Chase teamed up on March 7 to unveil a newly refurbished court at Engelwood Elementary. Magic forward Tobias Harris joined Magic Community AmbassadorsNick Anderson and Bo Outlaw, Magic Dancers, STUFF the Magic Mascot, Magic and Chase representatives and Engelwood students. After the ribbon cutting, Harris, Outlaw and Anderson conducted a min-basketball clinic on the school’s new court with Engelwood students. Photo taken by Gary Bassing.