From September 10, the city of Braga will have a field for the exclusive use of basketball, in an urban art intervention initiative promoted by the Braga municipality and the Hoopers community, led by André Costa.
– The Portuguese basketball community is very curious about the project that is being developed in Braga. What is being born in Bairro das Enguardas?
– The municipality of Braga and Hoopers are about to launch the largest iconic basketball court in Europe, an area of almost a thousand square meters intervened by the urban art artist Contra and which will have several spaces dedicated to the practice of the sport: a field of 3×3, with official measures and prepared to receive stages from national and international circuits, a 4×4 field, a 5×5 field and two tables for training launches.
– How did the idea come about?
– After our support in activating the intervention of Campo Mártires da Pátria, in Lisbon, carried out by the artist AKACorleone, we were contacted by Luís Rodrigues, executive director of Startup Braga, who is not only an innovation and entrepreneurship enthusiast, but also basketball. Luís Rodrigues introduced us to the councilor for Sport and Youth, Sameiro Araújo, who, from the beginning, supported and believed in the enormous sporting, cultural and social potential of the project for the city and its communities. On the very day of this meeting, we went to visit potential sites for the intervention and counted on the support and regular presence of the councilwoman during the same.
– Is the Portuguese Basketball Federation (FPB) not included in the process? What is the reason?
-One of Hoopers’ strategic axes focuses on dynamizing communities and transforming sports spaces that promote the informal practice of basketball on the street, crossing this dimension with other areas such as urban art and music, for example. FPB did not participate in this project, but we hope that, as an entity responsible for promoting and spreading the sport in our country, it will be able to give due visibility and institutional support to this initiative and to our future projects.
– What is the expected sporting impact of this project?
– This project will allow the recovery of sports equipment in the city, which was very degraded, thus enabling the sporting and cultural use of the space. It will also allow the reactivation of the sport in one of the oldest basketball clubs in Braga, Sporting Clube Leões das Enguardas, thus contributing to the growth of this sport in the city. This project fits into Hoopers’ strategic lines of action aimed at creating communities and fostering the practice of street sport. In addition to the sports aspect, we hope that this space will become a new centrality of the city and that it will be visited and frequented not only by lovers of basketball and urban art, but also by tourists, similar to what happened with Campo Mártires da Pátria, in Lisbon.
– How receptive is the population?
– It’s been fantastic! Before starting the project, we took care to involve the local community and to let them know this intervention first hand. We went to all the cafes, restaurants, shops and commercial spaces in the vicinity to present the project, left pamphlets in all mailboxes to explain the intervention and tried to guarantee the involvement of the population in social networks. During the intervention, we received several players on the field – people from basketball clubs, the city and the region, but also curious citizens looking for information -, we heard praise and applause from the windows during the intervention and we even counted on the incredible contribution of the children of the country. neighborhood that came to help us paint a wall. People were always very generous with us and we have excellent memories of these days.
– When will the camp be opened? And will it be open to anyone?
– The renovated multi-sports facility in São José will be inaugurated on September 10 by the Mayor of Braga, Ricardo Rio. It will be an initiative in accordance with public health and safety standards, with sports and cultural activities carried out by clubs and cultural entities in the city. The use of the space will be free and free.