Local legend Albert King, a former basketball star with the Nets, returned to Brooklyn on Saturday, Nov. 5 to help inspire the next generation of superheroes. King, a former NBA Rookie of the Year and three-time All Star, helped introduce the latest mural from Thrive Collective at John Jay Pershing Middle School (IS 220) in Brooklyn.
The mural, “Be Your Own Superhero,” was sponsored by the Brooklyn Nets, House of Slay, and the CPC Beacon School program. The day’s events also included a youth basketball tournament, arts and crafts, and food inspired by local ethnicities.
In addition to unveiling the Thrive mural, King also helped award trophies following the basketball games. After a stellar career at Fort Hamilton High in Brooklyn, the six-foot-six forward went on to play at the University of Maryland before being drafted in the first round by the Nets in 1981.
“It was great to have the community out here–everyone working together with the young people,” said King, the brother of NBA Hall of Famer Bernard King.
Jeremy Del Rio, executive director of Thrive Collective, thanked the Brooklyn Nets and Designer Phillip Lim and House of Slay for strengthening arts and sports programming throughout the city and commended Pershing Middle School and the CPC Beacon School program for prioritizing the voice of their students.
“The mural is an invitation to think beyond our current circumstances–beyond any of the limitations that society might try to place on us and imagine a world that doesn’t yet exist,” he said. “Isn’t that what being a superhero is all about?”
The Pershing Middle School’s 7th and 8th grade students worked on the mural under the art direction of Peach Tao, an artist with Thrive Collective. The team at House of Slay played a significant role in the anyone-can-be-a-superhero concept.
Since 2020’s NY Tougher than Ever campaign, Phillip Lim and House of Slay have supported Thrive Collective’s mission to eradicate artless education in New York City. In 2021, Lim celebrated Thrive Collective’s “Stop Asian Hate” mural on the northeast corner of Delancey and Eldridge Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
At the unveiling of Thrive’s latest mural in Brooklyn, New York City Mayor Eric Adams was represented by Manuel Castro, the Commissioner of the Office of Immigrant Affairs and an alumnus of IS 220.
“As someone who has benefited from the Beacon school programs and New York City public schools, I am proud to be here in support,” Castro said. “Beacon’s after-school activities help develop our young people.”
With the latest mural from Thrive, the young people at IS 220 seized the opportunity to unite with talented artists for a project that created hope and inspiration in their community.
“The students responded to the invitation to ‘Be Your Own Superhero’ and imagined how they might make the world around them more beautiful,” he said. “They worked with dynamic artists and memorialized that theme on the wall for years and generations to come.”