October 14, 2022

Paige Bueckers and Jamad Fiin Give Back with Project Backboard

Kevin Kosanovich

Kevin holds a Ph.D. in American studies and is an expert in American cultural history and hip-hop. He is the Senior Content Manager at StockX.

Paige Bueckers and Jamad Fiin talk about community, collaboration, and - of course - basketball at the dedication of their joint court revitalization in Minneapolis in partnership with Project Backboard.

Paige Bueckers and Jamad Fiin talk about community, collaboration, and - of course - basketball at the dedication of their joint court revitalization in Minneapolis in partnership with Project Backboard.

Showing Minnesota love, Paige Bueckers and Jamad Fiin bring the home court advantage to the city of St. Louis Park, Minnesota, to renovate a school basketball court. The court has been revitalized in partnership with Project Backboard, a nonprofit organization that renovates public basketball courts to help strengthen communities and improve park safety.

Just before the court’s official unveiling, we talked with both superstars about creating the court, the importance of basketball, and their ties to the greater Minneapolis community.

And for more Paige and Jamad content – from the dedication event to their personal style – make sure and go here.

What were your initial impressions of the court? What was it like seeing it for the first time?

Paige Bueckers (PB): It’s surreal. I went to elementary school here, and I played on this court. It didn’t look like this, so this is all new, but it’s surreal to have this experience and have this court with our names on it.

Jamad Fiin (JF): I think seeing our names are on the court in Minneapolis. We both love the city and the people. So for the Minneapolis community to come and experience this is amazing.

Jamad, what does this community mean to you? What does it mean to be back in Minneapolis?

JF: Minneapolis is my second home. I’m here all the time, my community’s very big here, and they always support me. And for. Having the court here is special because they could always come here and play here.

Paige, you went to elementary school here. What’s it like seeing your name on a court outside your elementary school?

PB: It’s crazy because I remember giving little kids so many buckets on this court. So to have my name on it and to be a part of something so special, it’s like a dream. If you had told me in elementary school that this would happen, I wouldn’t have believed it.

“Be You. Be Great.” is right in the middle of the court. Paige, I know that’s something your dad always said to you. How does that statement fit into your life right now?

PB: I think it’s about always staying true to who I am and being the best version of myself. It’s easy to get wrapped up in many things that are going on in life, but you have to stay true to who you’ve always been.  

How has basketball become a platform for self-expression for you both?

PB: Basketball has been my platform since my freshman year in high school when my social media blew up. Since then, I’ve been able to use basketball as a platform to try and do great things. I want to continue to do something like this where I’m giving back to the community and showing kids that they can dream big and accomplish these great things. To be able to achieve such positive things through basketball is amazing.

JF: Growing up in my community, it was hard to fit in. Basketball was my way to fit into the community, and it wasn’t really a popular sport. Girls don’t really play basketball in my community, so it’s always very inspiring to young girls growing up because they see that they can play sports and basketball. For those young girls to see me as their role model is special for me. I think it’s really special that we now have this court for them to share, experience, and always have a place where they can play.

What do you hope this court and collaboration shows the younger generation of women?

JF: I think it shows young girls and young women that they can accomplish whatever they want in life. Coming up, we didn’t have anywhere we could always call home. With this court, they have somewhere to play and a place to create community. 

PB: I grew up playing outside at the park, and this shows that if you work hard and have great faith, your dreams can come true. This court and collab are amazing to see, and I want little kids and little girls to use it as a platform to achieve great things.

What was it like collaborating on this court? 

PB: It’s awesome. Collaborating with Jamad was amazing. We worked well together on creating this court and the design. We had similar ideas and wanted to express similar messages. And it’s so important that women support women. Being able to do all this on a project this important was really, really cool.

JF: Collaborating with Paige is amazing. Besides being one of the best hoopers I’ve ever seen, she is such an inspiration to so many kids. So for us to do something like this for our community and have it potentially inspire so many kids is special.

What are some inspirations and meaningful details that went into creating this court?

PB: I’m a very bright and vibrant person, so I wanted to have similar colors. Usually, basketball courts all look the same, but this one is different, “Be You. Be Great” in the middle is just a testament to who I am and a motto that guides my life. We worked hard on our signatures, which are unique to the court. It’s awesome to have our names on there.

JF: I think the orange and the black bring a very Somali vibe. There are many Somalis in Minnesota, so those colors represent the Somali community and Minneapolis. Also, the bright, vibrant colors are fire, making the court pop.

What was it like working with StockX to bring the court to life?

PB: It’s amazing working with StockX. In every partnership I have, we have to share the same values and ideals. Giving back to the community is my main focus, and for StockX to respect that and work with us to give back is special. Working with StockX is the opportunity of a lifetime, and I can’t thank them enough for all the support.

JF: StockX definitely started a movement to give back to the community, and also, helping us give back to the community is really big. Listen, a lot of people are going to start doing stuff like this, but StockX will always be the first.

So what’s next after this court?

JF: I think this court is definitely somewhere where we’ll have cookouts and neighborhood get-togethers. Also, it’s always been my dream to build a court in Somalia, so we’ll see.  

PB: This court haunts me. I used to come here – even a couple of years ago – when I came back to visit. Now that it literally has a piece of me, I’m going to be here all the time. Hopefully, I can run more camps here, and this court represents the beginning of more collaborations and more courts worldwide.