Luquillo – Youngsters at the Lomas housing project in this eastern Puerto Rican city, starting Monday, can enjoy playing on the new basketball court inaugurated by New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony.
This is the second time the Carmelo Anthony Foundation has helped reconstruct a sports center on the Caribbean island. The first time was in July 2010 in the San Juan district of La Perla.
Among the improvements the organization has provided for the facility in Luquillo are new acrylic backboards and paint for the sports center, which also bears the name of the NBA star.
The 27-year-old forward, whose father was Puerto Rican, said that his organization had chosen several basketball courts to restore, but it was the one in Luquillo that most attracted them because it was "almost perfect" for developing the game.
Neither sports center has a roof, however, though dozens of kids play there rain or shine.
"We're working on putting a roof on both courts," Anthony said.
Meanwhile, the municipality of Luquillo honored Anthony with the keys to the city and named him a distinguished visitor to the town.
The secretary of Puerto Rico's Recreation and Sports Department, Henry Neumann, lauded Anthony for "keeping his Puerto Rican roots alive" and "for restoring this court and the one in La Perla."
The sports official also invited Anthony to play with the Puerto Rican national team, which got cheers from all present, but the athlete is committed to playing with the United States team during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.