Meet Dr. Mehdi Ouil Kherroubi, PhD, Guest Professor in Management, who dedicates most of his available time to basketball and his ambitious project “Bball in the Sky”.
Mehdi plays basketball since he was 10 years old. Being challenged by his classmates, he started on a playground in front of his primary school. Now, he plays around 5 days a week in his club and with his friends and aims to offer open-air basketball courts to Brussels’ community.
AR: Please tell us about the project.
MO: “Bball in the Sky” is about playing basketball on original spots such as rooftops and to combine with artistic designs. It exists all around the World and the main idea is to offer open air basketball courts to large community. We have managed to organize our first pop-up in Strokar Inside, in the place full of street art and positive energy.
In December the court was opened for 7 days and in total it was visited by about 350 people. We had big event and also a 3 x 3 basketball tournament, which was organized with the help of our partner Ballinshape. There was a lot of excitement, as most probably it was the first time such an event was organized in Belgium.
We have received great support from many people. Co-founders of Strokar Inside, Alexandra Lambert and Fred Atax, offered to organize a basketball court in their venue.
We are also thankful to the artists who got involved. We have asked very famous street artist here in Brussels, Dema, to help with design based on concept of the Bball in the Sky. He created peaceful, blue environment on the floor and historical timeline of basketball all around the playground. Eijun, traphouse DJ from Traphousebxl, helped as well during the events. The magnificent backboards were provided by Adeps. We had the support from the basketball federation AWBB. The European school club borrowed us the scoreboards.
We have been encouraged by some politicians and athletes. I would like also to thank all the members of my team Bball in the Sky and to the members of the SOSC association. Without all of the support, this event wouldn’t be so insane.
AR: Great interest, artists, partners – this means that the project has many aspects.
MO: Yes, for us it is important to come together. To meet people come from different social classes, with different perspectives. Unfortunately in Brussels people from different backgrounds do not meet each other a lot.
There are different expectations from both sides. Players from the less privileged social class would like to have good sports infrastructures. Other players, would also like to experience more artistic touch of basketball culture, nice clothes for example.
Being active in sports is also a way to meet new friends and be around people. If you spend most of your time alone, reading or in front of your PC, you will become crazy. Bball in the Sky will offer easy access to courts in the streets, what will strengthen the sports community in the city.
AR: Strokar Inside has been unfortunately closed. What are your plans for the future?
MO: We would like to implement such courts all around the city. Brussels is a very warm and welcoming city, let’s give tourists even more attractions.
We work on a project to have a pop-up court in summer. It would be located very close to historical heart of Brussels. We think about Place du Nouveau Marche aux Grains, but of course it requires a lot of involvement and funds. I hope the public authorities and new partners will help us a lot.
We are also looking for a new logo design for the Bball in the Sky project. It would be great to receive ideas from our community. We have published information about this initiative on our social media, for example on Facebook here.
Mehdi would like to thank everyone who helped: Benoit Hellings, Bea Diallo, Nabil Messaoudi, Noemi Lins, Évelyne Huytebroeck, Lionel Loris, Amory Gorgemans, Patrick Nyamsi, Loïc Mehdi Jaumotte and Nick Celis. Patrick Agosthino , Gilles Preux, David Nenkam, Daouda Kouyate, Mathieu Nocent, Mc Younes, Donya Rezapour and César Castelain. Moussa Diakite, Gian Battista, Mohamed Debdabi and Isaac Bosenge, Mathieu Nocent. Manza, Rachid, Arabi, Najib, Bora, Antoine, Mehdi Khammal, Dimitri, Leyla, Fatima, Charlotte, Raphaela, Gilles Liessens, Christophe Kuge, Manou, Olivier Dumu, Paolo, Jawad, Nabil, Emmanuelle Einhorn, Karim, Roland, Regis Manuella, Farida, Amal, Hans, Aronaldinho and Zahira.