Hong Kong has unveiled its first “Nike Grind” public court aimed for young basketball players and uniquely made from 20,000 pairs of used trainers in Kwai Chung. The Shek Lei Grind Court, located on the roof of Shek Lei Shopping Centre, is open to the public from June 25 and is part of Nike’s “zero-waste future” initiative. The court is made from recycled or regenerated plastics, rubber, foam and more, with overlay designs by British illustrator James Jarvis. Organisers strategically picked Shek Lei for its “humble neighbourhood” comprising of nearly a dozen primary and secondary schools, with the court and rim dimensions scaled down to cater for younger players. Kids in the area supposedly have “limited access to a healthy sports lifestyle” due to lack of space and sports facilities. The grind court replaced what was previously a run-down, often-unused singular basketball court. Hong Kong men’s basketball team star Tsai Choi-kwan, fellow Basketball League A1 Division player Cheung Yin-lung, national women’s team player Lau Fong-ying and Heep Yunn School coach Dora Yum Ming-man shared valuable expertise to six children from InspiringHK Sports Foundation – a local NGO promoting youth engagement through social mobility and sports – in a short training session. For Lau, the smaller courts are a welcome development. The Hong Kong Polytechnic University player said she would definitely have played more basketball as a child had she had access to such youth-catered facilities. “I was a bit intimidated by other bigger players when I’d go to the courts with my older brother as a child so I didn’t really join in. I also couldn’t reach the rim or net because the balls were so heavy. I would be at the side dribbling the ball or watching them play,” she said, adding that the shorter hoops allow players to get a better feel of basketball’s ultimate objective: to score points. However, Lau warned that the soon-to-be-made public (June 25) court should be “cherished” and not misused. “It’s a very nice design but we need to see who will make use of it. The court’s purpose is for kids to learn and train basketball in a fun environment, but you can’t control who else uses it,” she said. “So I hope members of the public take note of its purpose and target demographic – the development of the younger generation’s interest in the sport – and that there aren’t people trying to dunk and damage the court. What if after two days we see many people taking photos or slam dunking?” Men’s national team player and father-of-two Tsai said he felt “warmth” from the moment he saw the court. “I immediately thought of teaching my daughters how to play. Our eldest would never be able to get to hit the rim but would always watch me play so she clearly liked the sport. She always asks me why she can’t shoot free throws or three-pointers. I’m sure these shorter rims will give her more confidence,” he said. South China Athletic Association player Cheung, who grew up in the district, said: “The court was a bit worn when we’d come here as youngsters, so to see it totally done up for a place for people to train makes me really happy. The fact that it’s for kids is also good – I hope they make use of it and the district can develop its basketball scene.” Coach Yum, who mentored Lau at Heep Yunn, said the adjusted heights would encourage smaller players to continue to play. “There’s always a chance that younger players don’t have the strength to shoot with such power and height [on normal courts]. One of the biggest issues we have in basketball here is player retention – if they didn’t feel they had the abilities, they would quickly leave for other sports, so this is a good way to keep the kids interested.” Though this is the first public basketball court of its kind in the city, Man Koi Association Primary School in Ngau Tau Kok has used Nike Grind. The Yigang Primary School Sports Ground in Shanghai and the Brillia Running Stadium running track in Tokyo are among the 10,000 surfaces of such kind worldwide.