Michaela Onyenwere checks out the newly renovated McCaffrey Playground court Credit: Wynne Hendry photo

Official motor oil of the WNBA and NBA, Mobil 1, together with non-profit partner Project Blackboard recently completed renovation of NYC Parks’ McCaffrey Playground basketball court in Hell’s Kitchen. In addition to improvements to the playing surface, local artist Andrea Bergart created a custom court design. A lifelong athlete, Bergart’s design reflects the relationship between body and movement through space.

Last week, New York Liberty forward Michaela Onyenwere checked out the court. The 2021 WNBA Rookie of the Year is partnering with Mobil 1 to celebrate powerful women and inspire the next generation of community leaders.

“New York has been my home for a little over a year, to give back to a community that has given so much to me in such a short amount of time is a no brainer for me, especially refurbishment of a court,” said Onyenwere. “The artist, Andrea, did such a perfect job of incorporating NYC and her basketball experience.”

Onyenwere has explored the city and seen how important the public courts are to New York. “I’m excited to be part of a partnership that cares about the community and shows it through a basketball court, which is so important to the culture here,” she said.

Bergart’s unique design is inspired by her experiences with Downtown Girls Basketball. “It’s cool to have an artist who’s super creative and also understands what I experience,” said Onyenwere, who got some shots up on the court. “I see good vibes, flow and creativity, which incorporates what New York is. There’s a lot of love toward the sport of basketball.”

Onyenwere spent part of the off-season playing overseas in Spain. “I was able to compete with some of the best players in Europe,” she said. “It was humbling to be able to work with them every single day and to meet new people and be in a new place.

“I was able to learn and gain a lot of lessons even though it was not the great experience I would have hoped for, but I’m grateful to have had that experience and see what basketball is like in Europe,” she added. “I was improving my three-point percentage. That’s one of the things I want to bring to New York.”

Onyenwere made a three-pointer during the Liberty’s season opening win over the Connecticut Sun. The Liberty return to home court at Barclays Center tomorrow versus the Indiana Fever.

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