Mayor Wu and the Boston Department of Parks and Recreation dedicate Walker Playground basketball courts in memory of Medina Dixon

Mayor Michelle Wu and Boston Parks Commissioner Ryan Woods joined members of the Dixon family and local coaches and players Aug. 20 for the grand opening of the basketball courts at Walker Playground in Mattapan in honor of of the late Medina Dixon.

“There are heroic deeds happening every day in our city, there are leaders emerging and becoming inspirations and role models reshaping history for generations to come – and Ms. Medina Dixon has truly set the standard It is a tribute as much to Medina Dixon as it is to the family and the legacy they continue to represent,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “We are so grateful to the Parks Department and so many others for ensuring his legacy will always and forever be there as a platform for other young people to build their dreams as well.”

At 6′ 3″, Medina Dixon was the pride of Mattapan and Dorchester, a powerhouse who learned the game in the same park at 550 Norfolk Street where the courts that now bear his name are located. They were the first basketball courts ball from Boston’s city park system to be named after a woman.

“Medina Dixon was the best female basketball player to ever come out of New England,” noted Alfreda Harris, longtime community activist in Roxbury and beyond and one of Boston’s most successful basketball coaches. “It was an honor for me to have coached her and to be a part of her life.”

Harris mentored 15-year-old Dixon at the Shelburne Community Center after hearing about her outdoing neighborhood boys in Mattapan. At the time she transferred from West Roxbury High to Cambridge Rindge & Latin, Medina Dixon was the top high school player in the United States. Dixon’s level of play was so advanced that the school actually considered playing her on the boys’ team, but she preferred to play in the girls’ league where she broke records and mentored other players. .

She began her college career in South Carolina in 1981, then transferred to Old Dominion for her final three seasons where she was NCAA champion and brought home FIBA ​​World Championship gold and the bronze medalist at the 1991 Pan American Games in Cuba and the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona where she led the American “Dream Team” in scoring. With limited opportunities in the United States, Medina played professionally for ten years in Italy, Russia and Japan and met his future wife, Yoyo.

After switching to professional play, Medina Dixon’s number 13 was retired by Old Dominion and her number 44 was retired by Cambridge where she is in the school Hall of Fame. Medina Dixon continued to inspire fans, coaches and fellow players until her untimely death from pancreatic cancer in November 2021. She was 59.

On June 30, Mayor Wu unveiled more than $1.7 million in additional upgrades to Walker Playground. Renovations included upgrading the grounds, improving all entrances including formerly non-ADA compliant entrances, repaving walkways including a walking loop around the grounds, adding a drinking fountain, sunbeds and lighting along the walking loop and throughout the park, repairing the roof shelter and adding a police call box.

For more information, please contact the Boston Department of Parks and Recreation at (617) 635-4505. Stay up to date with news, events and improvements at Boston parks by signing up to our mailing list at bit.ly/Get-Parks-Emails and by following our social media @bostonparksdept on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Harold B. McConnell