ORLANDO, FL--(Marketwired - January 23, 2017) - Elfrid Payton has already racked up a lot of assists in his young NBA career -- 1,267 so far and 37 in his last five games. However, his most important assists have come off the court.
Payton spent this past Saturday afternoon at Rosemont Elementary School to join the Magic and Chase in the unveiling of a newly-designed Magic-themed outdoor basketball court.
The Magic and Chase have now partnered to refurbish 10 community sports facilities in the area over the last four years. It was at that time -- January 2013 -- when they said the goal was to revamp 10 local courts. Mission accomplished. And in celebration of reaching their goal, this court was the largest yet.
"To be able to do this on different courts around Central Florida it just allows us to make such an impact on all the children," Magic Chief Operating Officer Charlie Freeman said. "To do our 10th court with Chase really means a lot."
"It's very special to us and to partner with the Magic has been tremendous," Chase Executive Director Joe Terry said. "Having Elfrid and the support of the Magic and the players to be out here, these kids love it."
It was the second court refurbishment Payton has been a part of since joining the Magic. He also has contributed at many other community events over the past few seasons, including a few during the holidays last month.
As part of the court unveiling celebration, Payton joined Magic Community Ambassador Nick Anderson to help kids improve their skills during a mini Jr. Magic clinic on the new court. Also on hand were Magic Dancers, STUFF the Magic Mascot and a live DJ. The Magic and Chase surprised the school with $1,500 in brand new physical education equipment and all the students took home an Orlando Magic basketball.
Saturday's unveiling also helped tip off Black History Month celebration in February.
"It's always good to give back," Payton said. "That was a big part of my development growing up as a kid. It's always good to get out here and play with the kids and be there for them and interact with them."
As it has at the previous nine schools, administrators, teachers and parents feel strongly that this new court at Rosemont will help the students in and out of the classroom. They've noticed how being physically active and eating a nutritious diet coincides with better academic performance.
"I'm definitely a believer in that (connection between physical fitness and academics)," Rosemont Elementary School Principal Patty Harrelson said. "It's a lot of sitting during the day for young children and they need that time to be active. I believe in physical fitness and there is a connection to the brain so this is just a really good thing for our school."
Willie Johnson, a physical education teacher at the school, is ecstatic about having this new court and equipment to help the children stay fit and be more active in sports. He described the old court as being unenjoyable for the kids. There were a lot of marks on it and the netting and rims were torn down.
"By us having enough equipment now everyone can play and no one will be left out," Johnson said. "This will help the kids appreciate what they do have."
Photo Captions (all photos taken by Gary Bassing, Orlando Magic):
Photo 1: Magic guard Elfrid Payton helps students from Rosemont Elementary during a mini basketball clinic on the school's newly refurbished basketball court.
Photo 2: Magic player Elfrid Payton signs autographs for the students at Rosemont Elementary during the unveiling of a newly refurbished basketball court by the Magic and Chase at the school.
Photo 3: Magic player Elfrid Payton and Magic Community Ambassador Nick Anderson join the kids after distributing basketballs to every child in attendance as the Magic and Chase unveil a newly refurbished basketball court at Rosemont Elementary.
Photo 4: Rosemont Elementary students perform as part of the celebration including the Magic's Black History Month tip off presented by Chase and the unveiling of the school's newly refurbished basketball court. The Magic and Chase teamed up to refurbish the 10th court in the Central Florida area.
Photo 5: Magic player Elfrid Payton, Magic COO Charlie Freeman, Chase Chief Executive Director Joe Terry, Rosemont Elementary Principal Patty Harrelson, Magic Community Ambassador Nick Anderson, Magic Dancers, STUFF the Magic Mascot and Rosemont students and faculty at Rosemont Elementary to cut the ribbon on the school's newly refurbished basketball court. The Magic and Chase also surprised the school with $1,500 in new P.E. equipment.
Image Available: http://www.marketwire.com/library/MwGo/2017/1/23/11G128162/Images/Rosemont_Court_Refurbished_Ribbon_Cutting-c1f59a4294a08751ace1887127750172.jpg
Image Available: http://www.marketwire.com/library/MwGo/2017/1/23/11G128162/Images/Elfrid_with_kids_and_Magic_Basketballs-c626e90f491db6b6a750c24a386c94e9.jpg
Image Available: http://www.marketwire.com/library/MwGo/2017/1/23/11G128162/Images/Elfrid_participating_in_Clinic-84529d4a5d35a3bf913be0029f21d547.jpg
Image Available: http://www.marketwire.com/library/MwGo/2017/1/23/11G128162/Images/Elfrid_signing_autographs_at_Rosemont-a2e9aaf5d61eb72881172d3abd8a832f.jpg
Image Available: http://www.marketwire.com/library/MwGo/2017/1/23/11G128162/Images/Kids_performing_at_Refurbished_Chase_Court-d464e0b7c04ca015ae8283a8b04e6366.jpg