The basketball court at the Tobin Community Center at 1481 Tremont St. was renamed in honor of late local state Rep. Kevin Fitzgerald in a ceremony Sept. 24.
The rededication follows a year-long, $850,000 rehab of the center that was completed in July.
Fitzgerald, who died in 2007, grew up in Mission Hill and was state rep. for the district between 1975 and 2002. He was well known both for his advocacy for his neighborhood and his love of sports.
“He cared about hoops, kids and Mission Hill. That encompasses it all right there,” Fitzgerald’s son, John Fitzgerald told the Gazette.
John Fitzgerald, himself a Mission Hill resident, said his father had grown up playing basketball at the Tobin, and continued to coach and play there after John was born.
“He did spend a lot of time there,” John Fitzgerald said. I remember always going into that place when I was a kid…I loved being there and watching kids play. That was the best basketball in the city,” he said.
Mayor Thomas Menino and City Human Services Chief Daphne Griffin attended the rededication, as did two basketball players who played at the Tobin in their youths: Shabazz Napier, a sophomore at the University of Connecticut who played on that schools championship team last year and Wayne Turner, who played for the Boston Celtics in 1999 and now coaches for the University of Kentucky.
Kevin Fitzgerald’s name has been attached to a number of things in recent years. Urban Youth Sports, a program that Kevin Fitzgerald co-founded with the Northeastern Center for Sports and Society, was renamed Fitz Urban Youth Sports in 2008. John Fitzgerald, who sits on Fitz Urban Youth Sports’ board, told the Gazette that the youth sports organization “parted ways” with Northeastern a year ago, and is working on revamping its program.
The Tobin basketball court is the second Hill site dedicated to the late state rep. Puddingstone Park—a passive-use park behind One Brigham Circle—was renamed in Fitzgerald’s honor in 2006.