Former NFL veteran Jordan Babineaux talks Port Arthur lessons, gives back with new basketball court
Published 1:50 pm Saturday, November 20, 2021
The basketball court at Bryan Park has a brand new look courtesy of Sparking Ice’s Cheer’s to You Beautification Project.
The court has a new overlay on the existing court, all new equipment with new hoops and rims and, next year, swings, picnic tables and benches will be installed.
Bryan Park, better known the 503 Park for the train engine on site, is located at 1000 Gulfway Drive in Port Arthur.
Balloons, a DJ, food trucks, face painting and even a basketball tournament featuring eight teams were part of the celebration on Saturday.
Port Arthur native and former NFL player Jordan Babineaux was on hand for the festivities. Currently an analyst/host of Seattle Seahawks TV and radio, Babineaux was overcome with emotion while speaking to the crowd.
“Good morning. It’s always good to be home, always good to be home. There’s a certain kind of energy when you come home. I need it and y’all gave it to me,” Babineaux said.
“Y’all may not know it but I’m always watching, curious what’s happening in my city. The city made me. It raised me. Told me a lot of about life, a lot about perseverance, and resilience.”
He looked across the crowd telling attendees they are a resilient and to never let anyone tell them differently.
“We can go anywhere in the country, anywhere in the world. We can adapt, we can thrive and we’re going to win,” he said.
Babineaux said in a conversation after the ribbon cutting that his wife, who is employed with the company’s marketing group, nominated Port Arthur for the project.
The company noted Port Arthur has gone through multiple hurricanes, and the basketball court and surrounding playground were in need of refurbishing.
“Many of you know me from growing up on the west side of Port Arthur; young, bad. But I figured something out. One of the things I’m inspired to do now is share, share those attributes, those skills those lessons that I was taught growing up in these times and growing up in the city that I hope to share with other people,” Babineaux said.
“I hope that in some way that the thing that I’m doing to inspire others is to help build community and to create impact and inspire the next generation.”
Port Arthur Mayor Thurman Bartie thanked Sparkling Ice for the contribution, as well as city staff and Babineaux.
Locals Justin Washington, Jalen Hardeway and Jerayle Simon sat on a nearby bleacher waiting for their turn to take part in the basketball tournament.
Washington and Hardeway played on the court growing up and said they don’t remember it ever looking this good.
They also are making plans to return for more games.
George Davis, with the Pleasure Island Advisory Board, said he grew up playing at the 503. He is pleased to see the refurbished court and what it means for the community.
The Speaking Ice Cheers to You Beautification Project began in 2020 with the company choosing three towns across the U.S. needing some care and revitalization.
Now, in year two, Port Arthur landed on the list of towns.
The other two town projects that will be done are Lumberton, North Carolina and Biloxi, Mississippi.