Covington Basketball Court Gets Colorful Makeover in Honor of Homegrown Star

A basketball court in Covington's Annie Hargraves Park is now a colorful piece of art named for a local basketball star.

George Stone, who died 26 years ago, grew up in the neighborhood and cut his teeth on local courts before becoming a standout at Grant High School and ultimately a professional career in the ABA.

A replica of the white and blue basketball used by ABA is at center court and it's surrounded by double-edged stars to symbolize the league title won by Stone and the Utah Stars.

"We wanted to feature the whole idea of George Stone the player," said Jarrod Becker, art director for BLDG Refuge, which installed the court mural. "This is just a great location."

The Covington design firm is partnering with Horizon Community Funds of Northern Kentucky on the mural project, which was approved by the Covington city commission earlier this summer.

George Stone Court is part of the City-owned Annie Hargraves Park, which was rebuilt last year through the city's partnership with Make It Possible, an initiative led by the Old Seminary Square neighborhood in conjunction with foundations and other partners.

About the project

The mural project represents more than just a new coat of colorful paint.

It's an attempt to "activate" the court by calling attention to it, building pride in its looks, and encouraging the surrounding community to use it, said Nancy Grayson, president of Horizon Community Funds of Northern Kentucky. The organization is providing the financial support for the mural and hopes to make it the first of many such projects around Northern Kentucky.

"BLDG brought this idea to us a few months ago about using art to 'activate' basketball courts across Boone, Campbell, and Kenton counties as a way to bring communities together in public spaces used by individuals and families alike," Grayson said. "We were enthusiastic and lent our support because we strongly feel it would create a larger sense of pride and community across our region."

Grayson said each court will have its own unique art design that honors its particular identity - yet the designs will retain the "lines" or "boundaries" of the courts because "after all, they're meant to be played on, not preserved."

Well over a dozen other locations have been discussed, although the list has not yet been formalized, she said.

"Stone Court had the most appeal as a kickoff to the initiative for two reasons - the personal histories of George Stone and Annie Hargraves, and the Covington neighborhood's strong attachment and support of the park," Grayson said.

She said Horizon Community Funds is working with BLDG to plan a neighborhood celebration once the painting is complete.

About George Stone

Stone grew up on West 10th Street near the park.

He played for the former William Grant High School in Covington and later for Marshall University, where his 22.4 points per game average ranks him even today as one of the school's top scorers. He also played four years in the ABA, averaging 13.6 ppg and holding the league's 10th best shooting percentage from the 3-point line. He helped lead the Stars to the ABA title in 1971.

He died of a heart attack in 1993. The city dedicated the court in September 2018.

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