MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A brand-new basketball court in Raleigh donated by a Memphis rapper and an Olympic athlete has been destroyed by fire less than two weeks after opening.
NLE Choppa, all-star basketball player Nancy Lieberman and members of city council dedicated the new high school regulation-size court at the Raleigh Community Center on Powers Road on May 24.
Sunday evening, the Memphis Fire Department responded to the court and found it engulfed in flames.
The cause of the fire was determined to be a pile of fireworks that had been ignited in the center of the court.
Nick Walker, Memphis Parks Director, said the court was a “total loss.”
“It is very sad that this random action destroyed a new and valued community asset. Memphis Parks really appreciates the partnership and sponsorship that led to the creation of The Dream Court, and we really look forward to finding a way to get an asset of similar quality back into the Raleigh community. We have been in touch with Lieberman Charities and NLE Choppa to express appreciation and support for the Raleigh community.” he said.
The Dream Court was built with “a high-performance PowerGame™ surface from Sport Court in gray and red, with the Dream Court logo as its centerpiece,” according to a press release from the court’s ribbon cutting.
It is one of 120 Dream Courts built around the country.
NLE Choppa, whose real name is Bryson Potts, talked to WREG last year about helping kids.
“I’m young myself. I’m only 19 so I’m a part of the youth as well as they’re our future, they’re our upbringing and one thing I just want to focus on is, we save our youth,” he said.
Some who live in the Raleigh community say this is another reason the community center should be moved to a new location.
“It’s an unfortunate state of affairs when you have an individual or individuals that provide something meaningful and something beneficial to our children in the community and then you have other individuals who want to ruin that,” said state Rep. Antonio Parkinson, who represents the Raleigh area.
“From what I’ve seen, it’s pretty extensive and will take some work to repair and get it back to the state that it was in or ever repaired,” Parkinson said. “I also think we need to move that community center. It needs to be in a high traffic area and not hidden back in the woods.”