The former Wildcat just can’t stay away from Lexington for too long.
Julius Randle, a past basketball player for the University of Kentucky, came back to his college town this weekend to unveil a refurbished basketball court at the Charles Young Center.
Randle was in Lexington for the filming of a pilot episode of a show with the working title of “Street Ball Stories.” As part of the show, Randle helped finance a new court at the park. The idea for the proposed series is to show NBA standouts reconnecting with their basketball roots.
Randle contributed to the construction of the $65,000 court project. So did Mountain Dew, one of the sponsors of the proposed TV series. Randle has a promotional deal with Mountain Dew.
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Randle was accompanied by his wife, Kendra, and their 8-month old son, Kyden, as well. The showcase of the revamped court came Sunday evening as the Lexington Roots and Hertiage Festival was concluding. As Randle walked around the court, many people took out their phones to record the professional basketball player or walked up to him to get an autograph.
Randle said he had learned a lot playing for the university and offered thanks to the Lexington community.
“Thank you for impacting my life so much when I was here,” he said. “And impacting me so much to where I want to come back and do these things like this.”
Randle, from Texas, played for UK during the 2013-14 season, playing on the same team as Aaron Harrison and Alex Poythress. The team ended up losing to Connecticut in the national championship game.
Following his stint at UK, Randle was drafted seventh overall in the 2014 NBA draft by the Los Angeles Lakers.
During the unveiling, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray proclaimed Sunday to be Julius Randle Day in Lexington for Randle’s contributions “on and off the court.”
“You are our adopted son here in Lexington,” Gray said.
A Louisville-based company, Aztec Flooring, laid an asphalt base and installed the revamped polyethylene court. The center court featured a city skyline with black buildings and white windows. Dani Greene, a Lexington-based artist, worked on the design.