Councilwoman Jo-Ann Ryan (Ward 5) today announced that local basketball legend Christina Batastini has joined the Pleasant View Recreation Center as a part-time staff member. Christina was named one of the most influential Rhode Island sports figures in the last hundred years by The Providence Journal and is a member of the New England Basketball Hall of Fame and Rhode Island Scholar-Athlete Hall of Fame.
By day, Christina works as the Adolescent School Health Program Manager for the Rhode Island Department of Health and has a number of years’ experience in coaching, youth development, and public policy. In addition to working on basketball skill development, Christina will also use her grant experience to seek new funding opportunities for after-school programs. At Pleasant View Recreation Center, Christina will join fellow Ward 5 resident and basketball star Keith Moors, who serves as the center’s director.
“Christina’s wealth of experience will be a tremendous asset as we work to expand programming at our new recreation center,” said Councilwoman Ryan, who secured funding for Pleasant View Recreation Center to open its doors last fall. “We are thrilled to welcome Christina to the Pleasant View Recreation Center, and we’re grateful that she has chosen to work with our youth on nights and weekends.”
The Pleasant View Recreation Center offers a host of programs after school, on Saturdays, and during the summer. Programming includes basketball, indoor swim, soccer, and a full summer camp. “Our new recreation center is an efficient use of a City asset that, for too many years, went dark after school hours,” said Ryan. “Now it has become a vibrant recreation and community center, with great programming led by neighborhood residents who are recognized in athletics. Together we’re keeping the lights of learning on well beyond the school day.”
Although she has played professional basketball internationally, Christina began her basketball career in Providence. A native of Providence’s fifth ward, she is an alumnus of Classical High School, where her basketball skills earned her the Parade and Nike All-American honors and Gatorade Player of New England award.
Christina holds a Master’s in Education from Harvard University, where she won the Phyllis Strimling Award for demonstrating exceptional leadership. She also holds a BA in American Studies from Stanford University. While earning her bachelor’s degree on a full scholarship, the nationally-ranked athlete won three Pacific-10 Championships and played in the 1997 NCAA Final Four in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Following her collegiate career, Christina played basketball professionally for four years in Italy, Switzerland, Norway, and Sweden. When she returned to the United States, Christina worked as an assistant coach for the Brown University women’s basketball team and helped lead the team to the best start in Brown University women’s basketball history. She was also the head coach for seven seasons at Lincoln School, where she guided the high school basketball team to four consecutive Southeastern New England championships.