Shaquille O’Neal and Alonzo Mourning have teamed up once again to bring smiles to Miami. The NBA legends have collaborated to establish a basketball court and center for local youth. WSVN News Miami reported O’Neal’s latest “Comebaq Court” will be inside the Overtown Youth Center, as part of a $20 million renovation project.
The court itself is one of three “Combaq Court” facilities funded by the Shaquille O’Neal Foundation and Icy Hot, the organization’s longtime partner. Two previous courts have been built in Las Vegas and the 50-year-old’s native Newark, New Jersey.
“I’m doing Comebaq Courts all over the world, and it can definitely save a life,” expressed O’Neil according to the news outlet. “I always tell the young ballers, if you want to shoot something, shoot a ball.”
According to the news outlet, the South Beach youth center is expected to be completed by the beginning of 2023.
“I grew up on the courts, and it kept me out of trouble. Kept me occupied, taught me teamwork and camaraderie, all these different components of life that young kids should learn at an early age,” Mourning shared with VIBE during Miami’s Art Basel. The retired basketball star was in attendance during Michelob Ultra‘s unveiling of the 2022-23 NBA Team Cans where he competed in a skill challenge.
“Even if they’re not professional athletes, they can incorporate that into the workforce, you know? And creating an environment like that for kids is time well spent because we’re by-products of that. We knew that growing up, having those particular places for us to go helped contribute to us being who we are today.”
Founded by Mourning and real estate developer Martin Z. Margulies in 2003, the Overton Youth Center is a youth development program that provides comprehensive services to at-risk populations from kindergartners to 25-year-old adults.
According to the official website, OYC has a graduation rate of 100% of high school seniors.