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ATLANTA, Georgia (WXIA) — They may not be playing in the Georgia Dome, and they don’t have Louisville or Michigan on their shirts, but for the kids at Harland Boys and Girls Club in Southwest Atlanta, just stepping out onto their brand new basketball court is enough to make them feel like champions.
“It was amazing,” said 8th grader Quentin Darden. “It was the nicest court I’ve ever seen, other than NBA courts.”
The new floor comes from the NCAA’s annual “4 Courts in 4 Days” program. Every year during the Final Four, the NCAA makes over four community basketball courts in the host city.
This year’s recipients are Harland Boys and Girls Club, Dunbar Center of Hope, Carver Boys and Girls Club and Peachtree Hills Center for Hope.
At Harland, the new court, bleachers and goals, along with colorful signs and a fresh coat of paint, were enough to breathe new life into a gym in desperate need.
“Everybody was slipping on the floors,” Rantavius Love said of the old court. “The goals were raggedy.”
“It was hard because every time you dribbled the ball, it wouldn’t come back up,” Darden added.
Harland serves more than 100 children in the West End neighborhood. Only a few blocks from the Atlanta University Center, the club’s basketball court was as old as the building itself and hadn’t been refurbished in decades.
Clubhouse director Leontyne Robinson said for weeks, the kids watched excitedly as crews worked on the gym.
“It was beautiful!” Robinson said of the completed floor. “It almost brought me to tears a little bit because I knew how much kids would really enjoy it.”
“It’s good to have something that’s their home away from home,” she added. “That they can come and play and feel proud about.”