Gowanus court in Brooklyn gets a makeover thanks to TBS show ‘The Last O.G.’
As the show’s star likes to say: ‘Second chances are a beautiful thing’
The Brooklyn neighborhood of Gowanus rests alongside the 1.8-mile Gowanus Canal, a body of water so contaminated with industrial waste that it’s been named a Superfund site by the federal Environmental Protection Agency.
A few minutes’ drive from the canal, a basketball court in the center of the Gowanus Houses project was also in need of a cleanup plan. That call was answered by TBS after producers of its new show The Last O.G. used the court as a location.
The network teamed up with the New York City Housing Authority to refurbish the court in late April. The work included new asphalt, two new backboards and a mural.
The Last O.G., which debuted on April 3, stars comedians and actors Tracy Morgan, Tiffany Haddish and one of the original Kings of Comedy, Cedric the Entertainer. The plot focuses on Tray (Morgan), an ex-con who is shocked by how much the world has changed after a 15-year prison stint. The episode featuring the Gowanus court is scheduled to air on June 5 at 10:30 p.m. Eastern.
“A key theme of The Last O.G. is centered around second chances, and that has found its way into every facet of our campaign,” said Melissa Chambless, senior vice president of brand marketing for TBS and TNT. “What better way to celebrate than for TBS to give a neighborhood court its own ‘second chance’ with an O.G.-inspired transformation? We are proud to give back to the Brooklyn neighborhood who hosted the show’s production and leave a lasting piece of art.”
The court’s mural was designed by New York-based artist Jeremyville and highlights a quote used by Morgan in the series: “Second chances are a beautiful thing.”
Jeremyville said his work is “all about inner and societal change, through art and messages.”
“This project fit perfectly, as it’s all about reinvigorating a community through art, and the positive action of sport, and playing hoops with your friends and neighbors,” he said. “When art, beauty and energy is brought into a previously disused space, it brings optimism, positivity and a second chance at everything in life. Art can uplift our spirit and give us a key to unlock the door to our inner journey. I use my art to understand aspects of myself, every day, and hopefully others can connect to that spirit of change and inner growth.”
The renovations by TBS highlight the importance of preserving the country’s streetball culture. From Earl “The Pearl” Monroe to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, streetball was a breeding ground for some of the world’s best basketball talent.
Gowanus is one of 172 public basketball courts run by New York’s Department of Parks and Recreation. In addition to rehabbing the Gowanus court, TBS, The Last O.G. and Morgan teamed up with NYC Parks and Recreations to renovate courts at Marcy Playground, the other court used for scenes in the series. The unveiling of the Marcy Playground courts on April 17 included a $215,000 donation through the Adopt-a-Park program.
“I played on this court as a kid. I actually cut my finger once on a glass bottle here, and the blood I spilled on the court was for these kids. This is for Brooklyn. It makes me so happy,” said Morgan.