Saskatchewan

New Regina non-profit aims to deliver full-court press to repair city's crumbling basketball courts

Two Regina twin brothers have transformed their travel blog on hoop culture around the world into a local non-profit that revamps the city's basketball courts.

1st project is to help Sheldon Williams Collegiate's courts rebound from lack of upkeep

Justin Lee, co-founder of Buckets and Borders, was inspired to give back to Regina's basketball community after experiencing hoop culture abroad in places like this court in Cusco, Peru. (Submitted by Brendan Lee)

Two Regina twin brothers have transformed their travel blog on hoop culture around the world into a local non-profit that revamps the city's basketball courts.

Justin and Brendan Lee spent eight years travelling the world. In each country they visited, they would play street basketball with the locals. 

"I think we were just amazed at the shared passion for the game and the commonalities that you had, even if you couldn't speak the same language or you had totally different backgrounds. Basketball always seemed to be this anchor that enabled us to feel a connection with other people," said Justin Lee, chair of the board of directors for the non-profit organization Buckets and Borders.

They documented the experience through photography and blog posts on a website of the same name.

Justin Lee and his brother Brendan played basketball in more than 30 countries including on this court in Dubrovnik, Croatia. (Brendan Lee/submitted)

Now they've started to raise money to give a makeover to a basketball court in Regina's Lakeview neighbourhood.

Lee said while he and his brother are the co-founders, they've had a lot of support from friends and sponsors.

"We really incorporated Buckets and Borders because we got home and we're like, well, you know, as much as we'd love to continue to travel, we're both entering our professional lives. And we wanted to get back to the basketball community in Regina that has done so much for us," said Lee.

Both brothers grew up playing high school basketball in Regina, and Justin sits on the Regina Community Basketball Association board.

The courts located behind Sheldon Williams Collegiate are an iconic spot in Lee's childhood, one he says he still visits to shoot hoops when he gets a chance.

The basketball courts located behind Sheldon Williams Collegiate will have their backboards refurbished by Buckets and Borders. (Riley Sisco/submitted)

The court's glory days are gone: the lights have gone dim, the asphalt is cracked, the meshes are ripped from the rims and there are holes in the fence.

Lee is hoping to fix it up and give it a new look inspired by his travels.

The court will get new asphalt, fencing, lights, benches and have the backboards refurbished.

"The final component, which we're really excited about, will see a full mural installation overtop of the court," said Lee.

The asphalt will be painted with the Buckets and Borders logo, which represents the different countries that the Lees have been to — a mosaic of blue, red, yellow, and teal.

A jump shot of Justin Lee when playing basketball in Paris. (Tanner Goetz/submitted)

"It's really supposed to celebrate multiculturalism and inclusivity with the objective of being one of the most inclusive basketball courts in Regina," said Lee.

Lee is hoping to have the project started in the spring of 2021 and it won't be the last.

He says Buckets and Borders has ambitions for multiple projects in the city, the province, the country and eventually abroad.

"We're just starting small right here and I intend to definitely make our first impact in the province that we're very proud to be from. But we definitely have big dreams as well," said Lee.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Samanda Brace

Current Affairs Associate Producer

Samanda Brace is a Current Affairs Associate Producer where she gathers stories mainly for CBC radio's The Morning Edition. She got her start at CBC in 2014 as an intern in the Regina newsroom. Get in touch with her by emailing samanda.brace@cbc.ca

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