Sport Industry

Hollywood star Forest Whitaker unveils new basketball court in Athlone


Academy Award-winning actor Forest Whitaker has played a key role in ensuring new basketball courts were recently unveiled in Bridgetown, Athlone.

The unveiling by the Hollywood star actor and social activist took place at the Cornflower Sports Field, with the aim of promoting basketball on the Cape Flats.

Addressing the crowd, Whitaker acknowledged the severe socio-economic ills plaguing Athlone, saying he hoped the new court would help bring about positive change.

“Last May, I went to watch the Basketball African League and when I was there I was thinking about this court and that someone from Cape Town would be in this league. I know that there are difficulties in the community and the NBA has created a safe space for the kids,” Whitaker said.


The colourful blue and red court was established by the Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative (WPDI) in partnership with NBA Africa and the City of Cape Town.

The WPDI was founded in 2012 by Whitaker, and works with young women and men for the promotion of peace, reconciliation and social development within communities affected by conflict and violence.

“Some of you might become ball players and some of you will be dealt with decisions in your life,” said Whitaker. “I think here in this court you will find some connection, a safe place and enjoy life.”

“NBA helps to grow the game so that boys and girls can play the sport, but also learn their values, helping them transform themselves and society,” said NBA Africa CEO Victor Williams. “We are very pleased to bring this to Bridgetown in Athlone. The people of Cape Town are hungry for the game of basketball – this court is your court.”

Avid basketball players and kids from the community had the opportunity to shoot some hoops on the newly-built court.

Deputy Mayor Eddie Andrews said that the City performed some nifty footwork to ensure the courts were ready for the summer holidays. He encouraged youngsters to use the court every day.

“You can have an acclaimed guest to tell you what your future will be like, but if you don’t grab hold of your future you will be a statistic, so grab hold of the ball on the court,” Andrews said.

More like this