- National Teams
A Hackney park has been renamed Joe White Gardens after the legendary basketball player & coach Joe White (1962-2002), who impacted countless young people in East London through the 1980’s, 1990’s & early 2000’s.
The inspirational local figure, who was a GB international himself, produced 32 professional players, including 2 GB Olympians in Drew Sullivan and Pops Mensah-Bonsu, while winning 37 national titles in just 14 years coaching.
Today we unveiled signs for a park being renamed Joe White Gardens after a local basketball hero who inspired the community.
— Hackney Council (@hackneycouncil) September 29, 2023
Joe White Gardens replaces the former Aske Gardens and comes as part of a wider review into the names of local landmarks, streets, buildings and public spaces in Hackney to ensure they reflect the borough’s diverse history.
A number of Joe’s family and friends were on hand to watch the signage being installed, including his widow Claire White.
“My family and I would like to thank Hackney Council for honouring Joe in recognition of his achievements and commitment to supporting Hackney’s young people,” Claire said.
Additionally, a community event to unveil an information board about Joe’s work and the park renaming will take place in the Spring of 2024.
“Naming the gardens after Joe White celebrates a Hackney resident whose contribution to the lives of young black men in the 80s and 90s remains a positive inspiration to the community,” Dawn Carter-McDonald, Interim Chief Executive of Hackney Council commented.
“Joe’s legacy can be measured through the many hundreds of lives he changed through sport. His lessons went beyond the court and equipped a generation of young inner city people to succeed. This park with its provision of sport facilities through tennis and basketball courts is a fitting tribute to Joe and his family.”
Joe’s name will replace Robert Aske (1619-1689), an investor in the Royal African Company, which between 1672 and 1731, transported 187,697 enslaved people on company-owned ships to English colonies in the Americas, 20% of whom died on the journey.
Joe White Gardens is the second public space to be renamed through suggestions by the Hackney Naming Hub, launched in November 2020 as part of the Council’s anti-racism programme. In November 2021, Kit Crowley Gardens became the new name for the former Cassland Road Gardens.
The Hoopsfix Foundation has recently launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for the licensing fees to enable the public release of Big Joe, a documentary film about Joe White, click here to find out more and support the project.