Local NBA player opens basketball courts in Williamsport

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WILLIAMSPORT, LYCOMING COUNTY, (WBRE/WYOU) — A local basketball star who made it to the NBA is now giving back to his hometown. Williamsport native and Indiana Pacers player Alize Johnson hosted the “Alize Johnson Foundation Court Opening” this morning.

“Oh my gosh, I’m overwhelmed and I just couldn’t explain Alize. He’s amazing,” Johnson’s mother, Chanelle Johnson said.

It’s the start of new beginnings for those living in or around Williamsport.

“We have a unique young man who is a former student of mine. Proud to say that he loves his community. He hasn’t forgotten about the community and he’s put his money where his mouth is. A new rebirth of the neighborhood,” Williamsport mayor Gabe Campana said.

Johnson came back to his hometown this weekend to put in three NBA regulation outdoor basketball courts. They include adjustable hoops, lights, fencing and new bleachers at the site of Flanigan Park.

“It just lights me up inside because I like seeing people with a smile on their face and that’s my agenda at the end of the day,” Johnson said.

Growing up in Billtown, Johnson said it was a no-brainer to give back to the community.

“Just because I know how much they supported me in my career and I want to make sure I at least give them something to look back and say Alize didn’t forget about us,” Johnson said.

Hundreds of thankful community members showed up for the grand opening, expressing their gratitude and already getting some practice in on the court.

“Today it’s phenominal. It’s amazing to see one of his visions come to pass is just amazing,” Chanelle Johnson said.

But it’s not all about the slam dunks and layups.

“This brings the community together. This brings a lot of pride and it brings activities for families,” Campana said.

As Alize signed autographs and distributed Pacers gear to all of his fans, he says his goal is to remind these young kids that no matter what, if there’s a will, there’s a way.

“I hope they just use this park to benefit them later on in life and if that’s just going out there and putting in work every day, whatever time they get out here, I just think it will benefit everybody,” Johnson said.

The Alize Johnson Foundation partnered with Fire Tree Place to refurbish and majorly overhaul their old courts.

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