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Mayor Wu and Boston Parks and Recreation Department 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 on August 20 for the dedication of the basketball courts at Walker Playground in Mattapan in honor of the late Medina Dixon.

“There are heroic acts happening every day in our city, there are leaders who emerge and become inspirations and role models that reshape the history for generations to come – and Ms. Medina Dixon really set the standard. This is a tribute to as much Medina Dixon as it is to the family and the legacy that they continue to represent,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “We’re very grateful to the Parks Department and so many for making sure that her legacy will always and forever be here as a platform for other young people to build their dreams on top of as well.”

At 6’ 3”, Medina Dixon was Mattapan and Dorchester’s pride, a powerhouse who learned the game in the same park at 550 Norfolk Street where the courts now named after her are located. These are the first basketball courts in the City of Boston 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 been a part of her life.”

Harris mentored the 15-year-old Dixon at the Shelburne Community Center after hearing about her outplaying the neighborhood boys in Mattapan. By the time she transferred from West Roxbury High to Cambridge Rindge & Latin, Medina Dixon was the top female high school player in the US. Dixon’s level of play was so advanced that the school actually considered having her play 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 at South Carolina in 1981 then transferred to Old Dominion for her last three seasons where she was an NCAA champion and brought back the gold at the FIBA World Championship and the bronze at both the 1991 Pan American Games in Cuba and the 1992 summer Olympics in Barcelona where she led the US “Dream Team” in scoring. With limited opportunities in the US, Medina played professionally for ten years in Italy, Russia, and Japan and met her future wife, Yoyo.

After she moved on 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’s Hall of Fame. Medina Dixon continued to inspire fans, coaches, and fellow players until her untimely death from pancreatic cancer in November of 2021. She was 59.

On June 30, Mayor Wu unveiled more than $1.7 million in additional park improvements at Walker Playground. The renovations included upgrading the field, enhancing all entrances including formerly non-ADA compliant entrances, repaving pathways including a walking loop around the field, adding a drinking fountain, solar benches, and lighting along the walking loop and throughout the park, repairing the shelter roof, and adding a police call box.

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

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