//Off The Court
In the Paint: Joakim Noah and Kiefsix Unveil Transformed Basketball Court

How Artist Kiefsix and Former NBA Star Joakim Noah Are Giving This Local Basketball Court New Life

Inspired by Filipino culture, the “In the Paint” project transformed this basketball court in Metro Manila into a vibrant haven for young dreamers.

The Philippines has no shortage of basketball courts. Take a drive through the busy streets of Metro Manila, and you’re sure to come across courts left and right and find that they are almost always in use. Hoop culture is big in this country — which is precisely why Hennessy decided that the Philippines would be the perfect next stop for their global CSR initiative, In The Paint.

In the Paint is Hennessy’s way of giving back to local communities. Through this globally-known project, their teams refurbish run-down or abandoned courts all over the world, and in collaboration with local artists, they impart vibrant artistic expressions that represent a community’s identity, thereby uniting sports, art, and culture all in one.

With this, the international brand has transformed courts in many different countries already, including Mexico, Nigeria, Hong Kong, and China, among several others. Now, the Philippines has become the fourth of its kind in Asia.

“We know that Filipino culture is heavily linked to basketball, lots of players and fans, and it’s all about giving back to the community, and this is a fantastic place to do it,” Hennessy General Manager Nick Sonderup told The GAME.

For the Philippines’ In the Paint installment, Filipino artist Kifer Indiongco (also known as Kiefsix) was chosen to lead this initiative that would transform an abandoned court in the country.

“I grew up in the small community in Caloocan city, so medyo deprived ‘yung lugar namin since maraming basketball courts na sira, may marami na nagiging parking lot, so ‘yung frustrations ko in that sense, ‘yun yung naging determination ko in this basketball court,” Kiefsix shared.

As the In the Paint team wanted to choose a court that resonated with the local community, as well as the artist, this ultimately led them to the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Bukaneng Basketball Court in Pasay City, a place that perfectly represents Philippine arts and culture.

Motion of Emotions

Kiefsix is a well-known Filipino artist who is passionate about the intersection between art and basketball. In the past, he has worked on similar projects, such as The Courtyard, a vibrantly colored basketball court in BGC, which made him the perfect candidate to reimagine the CCP Bukaneng Court.

“They’re supporting local basketball communities all over the world and supporting local, emerging artists like myself, so I’m very honored and happy for that,” Kiefsix told The GAME.

“I’m always inspired by the important facets of the game of basketball. So basically, the smallest details of the game, starting from the courtliness, the free throw line, the three-point line, the fences, even the leather of the basketball…So if you see the court, the designs are very random, but it’s carefully placed and heavily inspired by the local community in the Philippines.”

Kiefsix further explained that the design of the court was heavily inspired by the country’s three major island groups — the fiestas in Luzon, as he was based in Cordillera for some time; the festivals in Visayas, such as the vibrant Dinagyang festival; and the festivals and fiestas in Mindanao, such as the Zamboanga Hermosa.

“I can proudly say, talagang local basketball siya, since heavily inspired siya with Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao,” he explained.

“I actually invest in local travels, kasi I think outside of Manila, there’s more to it in the Philippines. I grew up in the small community in Caloocan city, so medyo deprived yung lugar namin since maraming basketball courts na sira, may marami na nagiging parking lot, so ‘yung frustrations ko in that sense, ‘yun yung naging determination ko in this basketball court.

With all these design elements tied in together, Kiefsix proudly named this space Galawan ng mga Damdamin, or translated in English, Motion of Emotions.

“I think it resonates with the fluidity of the design and the motions of the game.”

Supporting young dreamers

To celebrate the unveiling of CCP Bukaneng Court’s brand new life, Hennessy brought former NBA star Joakim Noah to see the refurbished court for himself.

“It’s an honor to be here in Manila, in the Cultural Center, to unveil a court with Hennessy. I think it’s just very special to see the joy in the people, everybody looks very happy about it,” he shared with The GAME.

“I’m a retired player, so I think for me, personally, it brings me a lot of joy to do something that’s bigger than myself. A lot of people could have been an ambassador, but for me to be able to travel the world, I don’t take it for granted. I enjoy it, and wherever we go in the world, it doesn’t matter — I see one common theme: when you bring the people together in the community and do something positive, it brings joy, and when you see people having a good time, it makes me happy.”

Joakim, who endured a 30-hour travel itinerary (missing his flight connection), expressed that in the end, it was worth it to see the Philippines’ passion for basketball.

“I haven’t played an NBA game in almost six years or seven years, so I felt a lot of love as soon as I came off the plane and I didn’t realize how much of a basketball culture it is here, and on my first day, to be able to unveil a court and be here in the community — it’s amazing.

“I think Kiefer did a really good job, and like I said, I’ve been doing this initiative around the world, and to see the joy of the people to really enjoy it and the most important thing is not just unveiling the court, but what you’re gonna do with it after, and hopefully, kids can dream big on this court, and enjoy this beautiful art, and it resonates with people and they’ll wanna play basketball even more.”

Ultimately, that’s what In the Paint’s efforts are for — to bring more people, especially young dreamers, closer to the game that they love. This is something that also heavily inspired Kiefsix in designing this beautiful court.

“I’m always for the young kids, especially little girls. Kasi sila, feeling ko right now ‘yung may bigger hoop dreams,” Kiefsix shared. “Every time I [work on] basketball courts, I always imagine little kids, especially girls, na maglaro and have fun with the basketball court, and hopefully mag-ignite ng dreams nila in pursuing their dreams,” Kiefsix shared.

Images courtesy of Hennessy Philippines.


Hennessy x NBA Proves That the Game Never Stops

How Erik Spoelstra Inspires Young Filipino Basketball Players

On the World Stage: Gilas Pilipinas and the Philippines’ Historic Hosting of the 2023 FIBA World Cup