Colorful mural a tribute to hoops star

From left, Sam Becker, Thad Becker, Alexander Giehl, and Jarrod Becker – all of Covington design firm BLDG Refuge – paint the mural on George Stone Court.

Covington’s Stone Court 1st to be painted in region-wide initiative

COVINGTON, Ky. - George Stone died 26 years ago, but those who saw the Covington native play basketball say this: He could score - a lot and in a hurry - and he played at a fast and intense pace.
So when it came time to design a mural to cover the surface of the outdoor court named after Stone in Covington’s Old Seminary Square neighborhood, the result was a bright display featuring six hues and bold designs.
Center court will feature a replica of the iconic red, white and blue basketball used by the ABA, where Stone made his mark in the flashier and more free-wheeling of the professional basketball leagues.
And surrounding the ball are double-edged stars some 15 feet in length, symbolizing the league championship Stone won with the Utah Stars.
“We wanted to feature the whole idea of George Stone the player,” said Jarrod Becker, art director for BLDG Refuge. “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.

The City dedicated this plaque last year.

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.

Sam and Thad Becker fill in one of the six colors.

“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.

Alexander Giehl paints a star.

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. Here’s a link to the press release written at the time, HERE.

Stone, center, with two teammates at William Grant High School in Covington.

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