City leaders and community gather for dedication of “Ricky Renell Wright Basketball Courts”

Published: May. 20, 2022 at 10:20 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - It was a special day at Washington Park Friday as dozens gathered for the dedication ceremony of the “Ricky Renell Wright Basketball Courts.”

“Ricky Renell Wright was a Roanoke native, a star player at Patrick Henry High School and was a 1978 all-state player. He went on to play basketball at the collegiate level. Wright grew up around the corner in Lincoln Terrace here and practiced his skills at this very park,” said Mayor Sherman Lea.

The basketball court project was completed in late 2021. Once Wright’s childhood friend, Darnell Wood, heard about the project, he felt the new courts should be named after Wright. After sending a letter to Roanoke city leaders, that’s exactly what they did.

“Ricky just passed last year in 2021 and I said what greater way to get it dedicated in his honor because we played so much basketball. We were growing up in our youth, we spent a lot of hours here on the basketball court,” said Wood.

Memories of Wright were shared by his family and fellow long-time friends Mark Grogan and Robert Mason. It was a day to remember Wright, while also looking forward to the opportunity the Roanoke community will be able to have on the courts.

“We need to go ahead and continue to let these children come out here and help keep them off the streets,” said Wood.

Wood said Hill Street Baptist Church is working on offering more youth programs across northwest Roanoke throughout the summer.

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