"Do y'all know how to shoot any hoops out here in Ward 8?" Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., asked the crowd gathered to cut the ribbon on the newly refurbished outdoor basketball court at the Horton Kid's Community Resource Center.
Norton, along with House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., both congressional hoopsters, were on hand Tuesday evening to celebrate the court's reopening, a project funded by Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation — a charitable wing of the Washington Wizards organization — and the Hoops for Youth Foundation.
Wizards Otto Porter Jr. and Jan Vesely attended as well as Wizards/Capitals owner Ted Leonsis.
Brenda Chamberlain, the executive director of Horton's Kids, said the court will be put to good use. "This court gets used by hundreds of kids every day," she said.
Norton said the Washington Wizards organization, which currently sits at third place in the NBA Eastern Conference standings, is doing well on the hardwood and doing good in the community.
The Washington Wizards just recently rose to the .500 mark for the first time in four years, Norton pointed out, but what she was really pleased about was seeing the once "run-down, dilapidated basketball court" refurbished and transformed into a "court fit for the Wizards."
Before the ceremony began, McCarthy snagged Porter for a photo.
"We need a picture together 'cause my son went to Georgetown," he said to the former Georgetown standout.
Later, when McCarthy spoke from the podium, he pointed to Porter and Vesely, and told the assembled kids that if they did well in school and worked hard on this court, they could one day be professional basketball players, too.
A cadre of those kids were on hand that day, speaking with Porter before the ceremony.
"I think it's good that we have a new basketball court," one kid, who gave his name as Saquan, said. "It will keep our minds straight."
When asked what he was discussing with hometown hero Porter, a friend of Saquan's chimed in: "Drafting me!" Another teenager, in earnest, then explained that Porter told the boys to focus on getting a good education.
Once the ribbon was cut, kids swarmed the court and tested out the new hoops with a few Washington Wizards basketballs.