Mark Cuban knows the inside of the basketball business better than most. He has seen, heard, read, and lived first hand the horror stories of how the developement of basketball players in the United States has degenerated into a factory mentality of grifters. A system that uses the players for their skills then leaves a majority of them that don't make it in the NBA unskilled and unprepared for life after basketball.
He personally has decided to change that with the opening of a basketball center that will cater to young basketball players and give them an opportunity to develop more than just their basketball skills. It will be a safe place for them to study, learn life skills and generally be a place where they can be exactly what they are...kids.
It will also be a place that gives people from the community a place to learn life skills, use personal computers, and develop friendships that might not have otherwise been available to them.
Where is all this humanity happening? At Victory Park near the American Airlines Center? Highland Park? Nope, right in the center of South Dallas near the corner of Keist Blvd and Southerland Street. You've driven through those cross streets right?
The facility, which is being renovated as you read this, is an old YMCA that has been sitting empty for a couple of years. He has a master plan of building up the area around the basketball center to help with the growth of a part of town that most people have forgotten even exists. He has purchased 200 acres of the surrounding area to show he means business in helping the area thrive in years to come.
"We are thinking through what we want to do with the area but its possible that we will have apartments, retail, and even a Mavericks practice facility at some point." states Cuban to a small crowd of media at the dedication that was held on site yesterday afternoon. "We are having some enviromental issues that we need to work through. But we will see where it goes from here, but right now we are focused on the basketball center and making it a place where kids can go and the people here will have the kids best interests at heart!"
The building is scheduled to open sometime in the spring. The concept of what the building will look like is on the left of the picture above. The reality of what the building looks like today is on the right. We will let you know when the two merge and you can go check it out for yourself.
I am sure the kids will be happy to see you.