Penny Hardaway Announces Plans for Youth Sports Facility
Penny Hardaway, Campbell Clinic and Gameday Partner for
Youth Sports Facility in Memphis, TN
Sprite’s “Spark the Park” Initiative Brings National Support
Memphis, TN (November 8, 2011) – Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway, former University of Memphis and NBA star, joined by officials of Sprite/Coca-Cola and Campbell Clinic, announced plans to build “Penny Hardaway’s FastBreak Courts,” a 100,000 square foot facility to be developed as part of the Gameday Sports Park located on Fischer Steel Road in Cordova. The project will feature seven courts and include a partnership with Campbell Clinic, one of the nation’s leading orthopedic medical groups, which will operate a sports rehabilitation clinic on-site.
“When I was growing up in Memphis, I had two choices – sports and gangs. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to play sports,” Hardaway said. “I want kids to have the same opportunities I had to participate. Through team sports kids learn skills that will help them build a better future and make better choices.
“I am partnering with Gameday because of their nationally recognized expertise in operating youth sports programs and their ongoing relationships with national youth sports organizations,” he explained. “They also have shown a commitment to serving communities throughout Shelby County, and I will be working with them to expand this outreach.”
The remarks came during a news conference at the Gameday complex to officially announce the project. The event was sponsored by Sprite, an early contributor to the new sports facility.
“I know firsthand just how important it is for youth to have a neighborhood basketball park where they can play ball early in life,” said LeBron James, on hand to show support for his friend Penny Hardaway. “This project is a great way to give young athletes the chance to be active and make their basketball dreams a reality by providing them with a fresh place to play the game.”
“Our goal is to improve communities in inspired ways, and we’re relying on local residents to show their support for the sports complexes where we can make the biggest impact,” said Andy Hill, Market Unit Vice President, Sales, Coca-Cola Refreshments. “By generating support for these critically important play spaces among area residents, we’re working as a team to ensure youth have safe, fun places where they can get together in a positive, active way.”
“Campbell Clinic has a long history of taking care of athletes in the Memphis area, and we share with Penny Hardaway a passion for youth sports. We are so proud to be partnering with Penny and Gameday in developing this state-of-the-art sports medicine facility that will change the future of youth sports for Memphis,” said Dr. Frederick M. Azar, Chief of Staff, Campbell Clinic Orthopaedics.
In addition to the sports rehabilitation clinic, there are plans for a championship court and six additional regulation basketball courts. The courts can be used for volleyball, wrestling, cheer and other competitive indoor activities as well as basketball.
This project is expected to provide a major boost to the Memphis-area economy. A study by Younger Associates, which looked at the projected economic impact, found that Penny Hardaway’s FastBreak Courts will generate over $14.5 million in annual visitor spending and directly support 236 local jobs. The adjacent facility, Gameday’s First Tennessee Fields with 10 baseball and softball fields, presently generates more than $12 million in visitor spending, directly supporting 195 local jobs.
Located next to Shelby Farms, this year-round multi-sports complex will connect with the Memphis Greenline, providing access for local kids. Proximity to Shelby Farms will create a “Stay and Play” family vacation destination.
Penny Hardaway’s FastBreak Courts are part of Hardaway’s ongoing efforts to promote sports in the Memphis community. In 2010 he revitalized the Bluff City Classic, a summer basketball league that provides a high level of competition for college, professional, and elite high school players. In 2011, the Classic added girls basketball, thanks in part to support from Coca-Cola. Hardaway also provided funding to build the University of Memphis Sports Hall of Fame.
Penny Hardaway’s FastBreak Courts is an operating division of the Gameday Healthy Kids Foundation. The foundation’s mission includes encouraging youth to participate in sports and reducing childhood obesity. Training clinics for kids are held to teach healthy habits and provide sports instruction. Community partners include FCA Baseball, RBI, Streets Ministries, Boys and Girls Clubs, and the Bluff City Classic. The foundation is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization.