Pickleball guru charged as felon for re-striping public ball court

That’s quite the dill-emma.

A Denver man dubbed the “mayor of pickleball” tried to create his own court — and now he’s likely headed to one.

Arslan Guney, 71, and other pickleball enthusiasts play the game on a basketball court at Denver’s Central Park Recreation Center. The pickleball court markings had grown so faded that Guney this month drew in new lines with a Sharpie, according to a report.

He was slapped with an arrest warrant three days later and he now faces felony criminal mischief charges, the report states, with the city claiming $10,000 in damages.

“The whole pickleball community is really saddened and shocked,” Jan Devor, a friend of the accused felon and a fellow pickleball player, told Denver 7 News.

Pickleball is described as a mix of tennis, racquetball and ping-pong. The pickleball community has rallied to Guney’s support, citing his kindness and patience teaching others the game.

“He is what we call the mayor of pickleball,” Devor said. “I have 40 letters that have been given to me that I’m submitting to the lawyer that attest to his kindness and his generosity. He has written a letter to Denver Parks and Recreation apologizing.”

Guney hired an attorney, fellow pickleball player Hollynd Hoskins, to fight city hall.

Pickleball is described as a mix of tennis, racquetball and ping-pong.
Jeff Gritchen/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images

Denver officials stand by the charges.

“It is our duty and responsibility to the citizens of Denver to protect city assets and public property,” the Parks and Recreation Department said in a statement. “Defacing or damaging public property is unacceptable, a criminal offense and will not be tolerated in any of our public buildings or spaces. Law enforcement is aware of the damage and the incident is being investigated. Pickleball play was temporarily suspended to assess the damage and related repairs.”

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