NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Kids in New Orleans East now have a fresh basketball court to play on this summer.
The Pelicans and Louisiana Legislative Charity Fund dedicated the court to youths Saturday morning.
Kids in the community had the chance to shoot hoops with first round pick, Zion Williamson at Goretti Park.
"Barely people get to do that because they don't have like services to do that," Jaden said.
“It’s a one time thing. You could do this like once every year. It’s limited,” Jamaan Isador said.
“It’s fun, it reminds me of when I was a kid and I played on outdoor courts so it brought back a lot of memories,” Williamson said.
It's no secret Williamson has a big fan base in New Orleans, but it was his dedication off the court that captured hearts.
“That’s so amazing because he’s not even from here, so for him to come out and show his support, his love for our community wants us want to gravitate to him even more as a player,” Kisha Edwards said.
A brass band gave Williamson a New Orleans welcome.
Just two days after he was drafted, Williamson met with local kids to unveil a refurbished basketball court.
“This gives us an opportunity to give back, because I promise you, if I can be doing what i’m doing right now, literally, any one of you can,” David Griffin, Exec. VP of Basketball Operations said.
"Recreation can save our children's lives, because if this wasn't open and we told these kids no, we know what they could be doing in our street corners, finding ways to do criminalized activities," NORDC Chairman Brian Egana said.
Community members said they’re grateful kids now have a place to nurture their passion.
“So many of our kids are athletes at this park, and so many of our kids grow up and they play at this park, and it’s important to let them know that they too can make it one day if they just keep striving,” Edwards said.
“I know there are similar problems all over the world, because I grew up in an environment similar to this, so for me, to come out here, for the Pelicans to allow me to come out here, it means a lot to me,” Williamson said.