LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — More than a year after the COVID-19 shutdowns, many public parks in Clark County and the City of Henderson are still without basketball hoops, and it's creating some serious equity issues for kids in the Las Vegas valley.
"I would wake up at like 5 in the morning, go to the park and play basketball, come back," said Javi Mesa. "I don't really have that luxury now."
The Foothill High School senior says with his high school basketball season canceled and hoops down at area parks, it's been difficult to chase his dream of playing at the next level.
"I can go to places like Tarkanian gym or the Las Vegas Basketball Center to play but it costs money," said Mesa. "We don't really have that type of money to be renting out gyms all the time."
Even without the resources to play for a club program that travels out of state for games and tournaments or a local park to practice in, Mesa has an offer to play D3 ball for a school in Massachusetts.
But D3 means no athletic scholarship.
"If I had a school season and our season didn't get canceled then I think I might've been able to play at a higher level, which would've meant saving money for college," said Mesa.
The question Mesa and many others are asking now is why? Why, after a year, are basketball hoops still down?
Mesa penned a letter to Gov. Steve Sisolak this week called, "March Madness Mayhem."
He wrote, "there is no way basketball is a higher risk activity than what's currently taking place on the Strip."
"It shows that we're not their main priority," said Mesa, of the state's expanding capacity and allowing for larger group gatherings, while some high school and youth sports remain sidelined.
"It's hard to explain to your kids why they can play on a smaller playground or why they can go out to eat with their friends, or why everything is happening on the Strip," " said parent and advocate Kimberley Brock, "and they can't play basketball at the park."
Brock has been pushing for answers. And so has 13 Action News.
The City of Las Vegas says their hoops have been back up for some time. The City of Henderson didn't respond to our requests for an interview but responded to Brock via Twitter just yesterday saying:
"The City of Henderson looks forward to putting hoops back up as quickly as the Governor gives the green light to contact sports."
The governor's office sent a statement, reading in part:
"The Governor has recently requested his Medical Advisory Team to revisit the classification of sports and current restrictions on close-contact sports. Once he receives and reviews the feedback, the Office will keep the public posted on any new announcements."
Brock says the inconsistencies across local governments have a direct impact on the kids, who she says have already lost so much this year.
"It's always about the kids. They're always hurting the kids," said Brock.