Coach Ollie, Huskies help build inclusive basketball playground

By: Jason Newton, WTNH Reporter

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– Coach Kevin Ollie and the UConn Huskies are helping make some on court dreams come true, teaming up with Jonathan’s Dream Reimagined so that all children, regardless of physical ability, will have a place to play.

“I think we’ll allow some athletes with disabilities to grow, play with other athletes, and it’s going to be a great time,” said Ollie.

Ollie’s charity is donating $50,000 to help build Kevin’s Kourt, an inclusive basketball playground in West Hartford.

“Allows us to be part of the community and that’s what we want, to contribute beyond ourselves,” said Ollie. “That’s what we teach our players, and this is a great kickoff to this event.”

Some in attendance can hardly wait until the new court is ready to go.

“I like to play basketball because I like to make shots,” said basketball fan Jamie Roland.

Connecticut native Ryan Martin now plays professional wheelchair basketball in Europe.

“The reason I want to help with this is I know what opportunities in adaptive sports can do for somebody,” said Martin. “I’m that success story. I wasn’t supposed to get a scholarship and go play and I shouldn’t be doing what I’m doing for a living now.”

That’s the beauty of Jonathan’s Dream, people who are passionate about helping others and providing opportunity for all.

“They’re body might not be functioning properly, but their heart is, their mind is,” said Ollie. “It’s a passion of mine. Hopefully we can have Kevin’s Kourts all over Connecticut.”

“If I can help athletes with disabilities carve out they’re own dream and what they want to do, through sports, then I’m more than happy to do it,” said Martin.

Donations to Jonathan’s Dream can be made here, via mail to 335 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford, CT 06117, or by contacting Ronit Shoham at (860) 558-5313 or emailing her at jonathansdreamreimagined@mandelljcc.org.

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