Inspiring the Next Generation of Athletes and Creating Safe Spaces for Underserved Communities
Los Angeles, CA — On November 16th, The Shaquille O’Neal Foundation, in collaboration with Icy Hot, proudly unveiled the fifth Comebaq Court at the Challengers Boys & Girls Club of Metro Los Angeles. This initiative, undertaken in partnership with the Lakers Youth Foundation, reinforces the commitment to inspire the next generation of athletes while providing refurbished spaces for children to play in underserved communities.
Shaquille O’Neal, legendary NBA star and founder of The Shaquille O’Neal Foundation, expressed his excitement, stating, “Restoring basketball courts and creating safe places for kids to play has always been important to me. I was a kid at the Boys & Girls Club once, and the community supported me beyond just sports. I’m thrilled to celebrate the opening of this Comebaq Court at Challengers Boys & Girls Club for our kids to enjoy, as we ensure the next generation has access to safe places like these to follow their dreams.”
This milestone comes as Shaquille O’Neal and Icy Hot celebrate 20 consecutive years of collaboration. Over this period, they have refurbished courts in Las Vegas, Newark, Miami, and Atlanta, offering thousands of local kids a welcoming place to play and develop their skills.
Vincent Balagat, Icy Hot Sr. Brand Director at Sanofi, expressed enthusiasm for the ongoing partnership, saying, “We are delighted to once again join forces with The Shaquille O’Neal Foundation to strengthen communities nationwide, so kids have well-equipped courts and other safe spaces to play. Looking ahead, as Icy Hot continues to evolve in 2024 and beyond, we remain dedicated to supporting the next generation of athletes.”
The official court reveal and dedication took place on Thursday, November 16, attended by Shaquille O’Neal, local government officials, representatives from The Shaquille O’Neal Foundation, Icy Hot, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Los Angeles (BGCMLA), and Lakers Youth Foundation (LYF).
To mark the occasion, a basketball clinic was organized for Challengers Boys & Girls Club members, run by the Lakers Youth Foundation. The Lakers Youth Foundation, with a longstanding relationship with Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Los Angeles-Challengers Club, had previously refurbished the indoor basketball court at the Club.
A slam dunk competition with local talent, alongside sports personality Rachel DeMita, added excitement to the court reveal, making it a memorable event for Boys & Girls Club members.
Patrick Mahoney, CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Los Angeles, expressed gratitude, stating, “We are grateful to the Shaquille O’Neal Foundation, the Lakers Youth Foundation, and Icy Hot for this magnificent new court. BGCMLA strives to provide our young people with the highest quality programs in safe, world-class facilities. Thanks to our partners on this court, we can program more opportunities to compete and play!”
Kiesha Nix, VP of Charitable Affairs & Executive Director of Lakers Youth Foundation, shared her excitement, saying, “The Lakers Youth Foundation is excited to share this amazing space at Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Los Angeles (BGCMLA) – and the Challengers Club with one of our greatest Lakers Legends – Shaquille O’Neal. Together with the Shaquille O’Neal Foundation, Icy Hot, and all partners, another court is being completed, adding endless opportunities to grow, develop and dream BIG for the youth of BGCMLA.”
This project, a testament to Shaquille’s relationship with the Lakers, exemplifies the positive impact of collaboration and community engagement. Plans for additional Comebaq Courts beyond Los Angeles are already in the pipeline.
Comebaq Courts align with Sanofi Consumer Healthcare North America’s new B Corp Certification, emphasizing environmental and social achievements centered around better self-care for healthier people and a healthier planet. For more details on Comebaq Courts, visit [Icy Hot](link-to-website). Beyond Los Angeles, plans for additional Comebaq Courts continue, embodying the commitment to make a positive impact on communities through purpose-led work.