The 2020 NCAA Women’s Final Four and Nancy Leiberman Charities Gift a Dream Court to New Orleans Community
NORD’s McDonough Playground basketball court refurbishment dedication fulfills commitment from 2020 NCAA Women’s Final Four that was cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic.
NEW ORLEANS – (June 11, 2021) – Nancy Lieberman Charities, in partnership with Sport Court, teamed up with the NCAA and the New Orleans Local Organizing Committee, consisting of Tulane University, the University of New Orleans, the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation and the Allstate Sugar Bowl, to provide the Women’s Final Four Dream Court to the New Orleans community. The refurbished basketball court at NORD’s McDonough Playground in Algiers was honored today in a dedication ceremony with New Orleans City Councilwoman Kristin Gisleson Palmer, Basketball Hall-of-Famer, two-time Olympian and NBA Coach Nancy Lieberman, and New Orleans Women’s Final Four Local Organizing Committee Chair Kim Boyle.
“Following the cancellation of the 2020 Women’s Final Four in New Orleans, it’s heartwarming to be here today to finally witness the dedication of the Women’s Final Four Dream Court,” said New Orleans City Councilwoman Kristin Gisleson Palmer. “Events like the NCAA Women’s and Men’s Final Four are not only major economic drivers for our city, but also present opportunities for community improvements, like this beautiful basketball court. We look forward to welcoming the NCAA Men’s Final Four back to New Orleans in 2022 and can’t wait for the great opportunities the event will bring to our community.”
Prior to COVID-19 forcing the cancellation of the event, the Women’s Final Four Dream Court was originally installed as part of the 2020 NCAA Women’s Final Four’s commitment to the City of New Orleans. As New Orleans continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Dream Court will provide a great space for the community to enjoy playing basketball and spend time outdoors.
“The vision of Nancy Lieberman Charities is to be a catalyst for the development of young girls and boys throughout the country by using basketball as a motivational tool,” said Basketball Hall-of-Famer, two-time Olympian and NBA Coach Nancy Lieberman. “This state-of-the-art playing surface built at McDonough Playground will provide the children of New Orleans with a place to learn and grow, while playing the game of basketball.”
The 2020 NCAA Women’s Final Four Semifinals and Championship game were scheduled to take place at the Smoothie King Center April 3-5, 2020, but the event was cancelled three weeks prior due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Preparing for and subsequently cancelling the 2020 Women’s Final Four proved to be no small task for the Local Organizing Committee partners. Despite these unprecedented challenges, the official opening of the Dream Court is a step towards recovery for local communities in New Orleans and a source of hope for the area.
“2020 was a difficult year for us all, so it is an honor to be out in the community with this great group of women to finally open the Dream Court basketball court,” said Sports Foundation Executive Committee member and New Orleans Women’s Final Four Local Organizing Committee Chair Kim Boyle. “On behalf of the 2020 New Orleans Women’s Final Four Local Organizing Committee, I’d like to thank the NCAA and Nancy Lieberman Charities for their dedication to the New Orleans community. We know this will provide a great space for local children to get together to enjoy basketball.”
The ceremony also included a free basketball clinic for NORD youth hosted by Tulane University’s and the University of New Orleans Women’s Basketball teams with dozens of local children from NORD’s summer camp participating in team building activities and drills.
“While we were disappointed that we could not host the 2020 Women’s Final Four in New Orleans last year because of the pandemic, the NCAA is thrilled to have been able to partner with Nancy Lieberman Charities, the New Orleans Local Organizing Committee and the New Orleans Parks and Recreation Department to leave a lasting impact on the local community that had prepared to welcome women’s basketball student-athletes and fans with open arms,” said Lynn Holzman, NCAA vice president of Women’s Basketball. “My hope is that this new court at McDonough Park can provide a safe space for kids to play, while inspiring them to be active through sport and grow their love of the beautiful game of basketball.”
Next year, New Orleans and Louisiana will proudly host the 2022 NCAA Men’s Final Four, one of the country’s largest sporting events, for the sixth time, on April 2 and 4.
About the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation
Organized in August 1988, the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation (GNOSF) is a non-profit 501(c) (4) organization whose mission is to attract and manage sporting events that have a positive economic impact on the State of Louisiana in the Greater New Orleans area. Throughout its 32-year history and by 2025, GNOSF managed events will have generated over $3.4 Billion in economic impact from a $50 Million investment from the State of Louisiana.