Johnson caps his dreams for others in perfect message

Alize Johnson had dreams as a child.

But unlike most people, his dreams were not limited to himself.

He had dreams that involved others.

And once he realized his big dream of making it to the National Basketball Association last summer, he started working to use his financial benefits to forge the dreams he had for others.

Recently, that dream took a big leap toward reality when Johnson dedicated the basketball courts at Firetree Place in Williamsport.

The courts are shiny and new, with accents of blue amid the blacktop, and benches, seats and lights.

But what makes them special is the forethought of Johnson and his foundation to put a message at center court that belongs to everyone playing there, regardless of talent level or background: “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

“If I can do it, you can do it,” Alize said before cutting the ribbon to open the three courts. That’s a message the kids who look up to him desperately need to hear.

They also need to see that almost every dream that comes true has its root in hard work. Johnson said his hard work was inspired by the possibility of “rewards like this.”

Getting the courts was not as simple as writing a check, either. The plan for a Memorial Park location fell through and Johnson’s foundation had to regroup, find a new location, re-energize the boosters, get new approvals and facilitate the design and construction that led to the finished product.

Hopefully, those who play on these courts will get that message — that good things have to be earned, often with obstacles overcome.

As much as the community should be grateful for the monetary contribution from Johnson that made the courts happen, it should be even more impressed by the messages he left with the courts.