DETROIT – NBA player Josh Jackson and basketball Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman teamed up to open a "dream court" at Erma Henderson Park on Detroit's east side.
Jackson was a first-round pick of the Phoenix Suns in 2017 and grew up playing basketball at Erma Henderson Park. Now he's doing his part to make sure other children have that same experience.
Jackson said he remembers discovering the park in the early 2000s.
"Driving past with my mom one day, I saw a game going on and I made her stop," Jackson said. "I just got out of the car and started playing a little, and this became my court."
While the court wasn't nearly as nice back then, Jackson said it served its purpose.
"All of the neighborhood kids would come out and play," Jackson said. "We'd have people barbecuing. It was a really good family environment."
Jackson said that environment kept him out of trouble, which is why he teamed up with Lieberman to open the state-of-the-art dream court.
"For me, because I spent a lot of time here with the Shock, I can't tell you how happy I am to open this park here," Lieberman said.
Jackson and Lieberman said they know how the basketball court gave them confidence, and they want to pass that on to the next generation.
"We want kids to feel strong so they can say the most powerful word: 'No,'" Lieberman said. "'I'm not getting in that car. No, I'm not doing this. No, I'm not smoking that.'"
The dream court is specially designed to prevent injuries and is expected to last for up to 40 years. Jackson said this could be just the beginning.
"I feel like we all have an obligation and responsibility to make the world a better place, so I'm going to start right here in Detroit, where I'm from," Jackson said.
The court has six hoops and is currently open for anyone to play.