Before he was a Tennessee men's basketball legend, a 12-year NBA veteran and a New York Knicks assistant general manager, Allan Houston was a kid who skinned his knees and bloodied his nose during pickup basketball games on an asphalt court near his grandmother's home in Alcoa.
On Monday, Houston christened a different East Tennessee court by making a few free throws. This wasn't asphalt, and the freshly sealed wood beneath his feat featured stencils of he and his father's name.
"To me this is about how our family is literally cemented in the community of Knoxville and Blount County," Allan Houston said. "Just our roots. It's pretty, pretty amazing."
Knoxville Christian School dedicated the Wade and Allan Houston Courts on Monday afternoon. Students peeled back white strips of paper to unveil the names of Wade Houston, who coached the Vols from 1989-1994 and his son. It was the final step in debuting the brand new court, which is the feature of a 9,500 square-foot gymnasium that has been under construction since March. UT coach Cuonzo Martin, along with a handful of current Vols, attended the ceremony that celebrated Allan Houston's basketball career.
“Allan and I are good friends,” Knoxville Christian School board chairman Richard Komistek said. “When we were starting to build a new gymnasium, I brought up in the board meeting. You know, we are a Christian school. We are about educating children. I know a family that loves God, loves kids and they’re great basketball players also. We voted in the board that we would name the court after Wade and Allan Houston. Talking to Allan, he loved the idea, but he said his dad’s name has to come first."
Komistek said anonymous donations from two families made the project possible. Wade Houston said he had not donated personally, but believed his son has. Both plan to work with the school frequently in the future.
"We will be a part of the fundraising going forward," Wade Houston said. "And also helping to recruit some of the student athletes that come over here, by having events here with Father Knows Best, the foundation we have. We will be a part of everything, part of the fundraising."
Allan Houston's free throws were the first baskets made in the new building, but the first true games come Monday night when the Knoxville Christian School middle school girls' team plays at 5 p.m. Houston, who attended Tennessee men's basketball practice Monday afternoon, is expected to attend and help coach.