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New netball courts debut in Crown Heights

Let the games begin: Borough President Eric Adams stands with local community leaders and members, after cutting a ribbon to reveal the Carlos Lezama Netball Courts in Crown Heights on Aug. 27.
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Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and community leaders unveiled the Carlos Lezama Netball Courts at Lincoln Terrace park in Crown Heights on Aug. 27.

The long-awaited courts are bringing the popular sport played in the Caribbean, to the heart of one of Brooklyn’s biggest Caribbean communities. After a delay and construction, the $1 million dollar project is finally complete much to the excitement of many, said one netball enthusiast who hoped for an earlier debut in March.

“I think it’s a great plan. The only thing is we won’t get to play much on it. We won’t be able to use it in wintertime,” said Gloria Lewis, founder of United Caribbean Angels netball team.

Lewis founded the United Caribbean Angels 25 years ago in Brooklyn. Nicknaming herself a netball veteran, Lewis said she has patiently waited for more accessible outdoor netball courts in Brooklyn.

“The excitement has been great. I love the plan,” said Lewis.

Netball, a sport similar to basketball — minus the backboard, dribbling, and several other different rules — has always had a home in Brooklyn, but now there are courts allowing lovers of the sport to play it in various areas because Brooklyn severely needed a court, said one netball enthusiast.

After the ribbon cutting ceremony, the United Caribbean Angels played on the new courts, and the following day a netball tournament commenced with teams from Jamaica, Trinidad, and Barbados, represented on the newly open courts — Jamaica’s team would take first place.

“We had several different countries at the tournament, even the United Kingdom had a team there,” said Lewis. Jamaica’s team won the tournament, with St. Vincent coming in second place, and Trinidad taking the third place.

Named after the former president of the West Indian American Day Carnival Association (WIADCA), and co-founder of the West Indian Day parade, the placement of the courts at Lincoln Terrace park is a known starting point for the annual carnival.

The new courts in Crown Heights are just one step, Lewis said. The netball advocate hopes to see other netball courts in more areas, Brownsville in particular.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimon@cnglocal.com.
Updated 3:05 am, July 10, 2018
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