SAN FRANCISCO – The San Francisco Recreation & Park Department, in partnership with the Warriors Community Foundation and Good Tidings Foundation, reopened the Nate Thurmond Panhandle Basketball Courts this morning after court resurfacing generously funded by the Warriors and Good Tidings. The courts were originally renovated in 2000, also in partnership with the Warriors and Good Tidings, and dedicated in honor of legendary Warriors player Nate Thurmond, who passed away this summer. Over the years, the courts have seen incredible popularity and were in need of repairs. A ceremonial tip-off marked the opening. Senator Mark Leno, District 5 Supervisor and Board President London Breed, former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, Rec & Park General Manager Phil Ginsburg, members of the Good Tidings Foundation and sports personalities Jim Barnett and Larry Beil also gave remarks.
Beyond his accomplishments as one of the best centers to play in the NBA, Thurmond was a longtime community ambassador for both the Warriors and Good Tidings.
“As the only basketball courts in Golden Gate Park, the Nate Thurmond courts get a lot of use,” said Supervisor Breed. “I’m excited to see them resurfaced and thank the Warriors Community Foundation and Good Tidings Foundation for their generous support.”
The courts consist of one full court and two half courts. SF Rec & Park currently maintains 72 basketball courts and runs basketball programs throughout the City — including AAU girls basketball, classes on basketball fundamentals for 5-8 year olds as well as 8-14 year olds, free 4-on-4 youth basketball, adult leagues, and $5 drop-in sessions.
“We’re proud to maintain the Nate Thurmond Panhandle Basketball Courts,” said Phil Ginsburg, SFRec & Park General Manager. “Nate was an incredible advocate for play in all communities. We intend to honor his tradition here in the Panhandle and throughout the city.”
The Warriors Community Foundation supports education and youth development for underserved students in the Bay Area. Last season, the Foundation donated more than $1.5 million in grants targeting educational equity in San Francisco and Alameda Counties.
“Nate Thurmond was a beloved Warrior for more than four decades as both a player and community ambassador,” said Jose Gordon, Executive Director of the Warriors Community Foundation. “We’re honored to remember his legacy with this gift to his adopted home of San Francisco.”
The Good Tidings Foundation is a children’s charity that looks to equally support arts, education, athletics, and dreams for youth from communities of need in Northern California. Good Tidings creates original projects and works in partnership with professional sports franchises, businesses and agencies throughout the region, leveraging resources in order to increase access to enriching opportunities by deserving youth. They design, fund and build projects that are maintained and programmed in perpetuity by school districts, recreation departments, and city governments.
“Nate was a dear friend of the Good Tidings Foundation and acted as our Official Spokesperson for the past 15 years,” said Larry Harper, founder. “This court refurbishment marks the 60th court the Good Tidings Foundation has built in partnership with the Golden State Warriors.”
The court resurfacing is part of an overall effort to make improvements in the Panhandle. In October, SF Rec & Park will begin phase two of a pedestrian and bicyclist safety project. The popular walking and biking path will be restriped while benches, trash receptacles, and bike racks will be installed along the multi-use pathways. The work will take place at times that do not conflict with commuting hours. Previously, LED lights were installed along the pathways. This project was made possible with funds secured by Supervisor Breed. Additional improvements were made through a Community Opportunity Fund project that installed a rain garden near the playground. A seat wall near the basketball courts was also installed. The Panhandle playground was identified as a highest-priority playground through the Let’s Play SF! Initiative and will be brought to the community in the near future.