NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A community in Jamaica, Queens is taking back its basketball court after the murder of an innocent teenage player there in 2019.
Since then kids were too afraid to play there, but on Tuesday that all changed thanks to the Love All, Hate No One Project, CBS2’s Alice Gainer reported.READ MORE: Judge Rules Mayor De Blasio, Former NYPD Commissioner Will Not Have To Take Stand In Inquiry Into Eric Garner's Death
The court at Baisley Park houses has a bright new look. Daja White took the first shot.
“He’d be happy that these people are here doing this for him,” said White, 17.
“He” is 14-year-old Aamir Griffin, White’s best friend. She was there in October 2019 when Griffin was struck by a stray bullet and killed as he played basketball, an innocent bystander.
“Basketball was his life. It was his way of getting out of the ‘hood,” White said.
Except for an organized game or two, no one had really stepped on the court since until Tuesday.
“I love it. I love the colors,” said Shanequa Griffin, Aamir’s mother.
Wearing her son’s picture on a pendant and showing off her tattoo in his memory, Shanequa Griffin beamed when talking about the collaborative effort.
“I love the fact that the community got together and put this together so everyone can play. We needed it,” she said.READ MORE: Infant Girl, Mother Injured When Car Crashes Into Yonkers Store
NYPD Det. Tanya Duhaney was the family’s liaison after Aamir’s murder. She won a grant through the NYC Police Foundation to refurbish the court.
“We had our seniors out here painting. We had our youth out here painting,” Duhaney said. “We have Customs and Border right there. We had state troopers painting with us.”
Project Backboard renovates public basketball courts with large-scale works of art and designed the painting.
“Make it more inviting for kids and families, encourage multigenerational play,” Project Backboard’s Sam Peterson said.
The hope is that the court will inspire teens to pick up a basketball instead of a gun.
“If we teach our children to not play with guns and play with other things or do things that they love, they probably won’t pick up the guns,” Shanequa Griffin said.
Aamir Griffin’s life was lost here, his goal of playing in the NBA gone.
They’re hoping this court encourages someone else to dream big now.MORE NEWS: 2 Abandoned Black Swans Rescued On Long Island
No one has been arrested for Aamir Griffin’s murder. The NYPD said the investigation is ongoing.