The mayor of Braddock, John Fetterman, is doing everything he can to revitalize his town. This includes an aggressive pursuit of public art. He has implemented programs to attract artists to the area to live and work as well as inviting them to come in and decorate many of the old buildings. One of his programs involves recreating historic Pittsburgh Signs. Other designs he commissions are not necessarily remakes of old signs, but new designs with a traditional look.
The mayor came up with this idea and asked Anthony Purcell to bring it to life. The simple message hanging above the local basketball court comes from an expression in professional basketball. If a player gets free throws for a questionable foul and then misses the shots, the
Ball don't lie. The ball itself has judged the foul as bogus and won't go in the net. This phrase is attributed to Rasheed Wallace of the NY Knicks.
There was also a movie titled Ball Don't Lie in 2008 based on a book of the same name. In it a high school student with a lot of problems, traumas and emotional scars leaves that all behind when he's playing ball. On the court his social failings are irrelevant. Perhaps the mayor wants the kids in the neighborhood to remember that playing basketball should be honest fun and that they can leave all the burdens behind when they play? Just a guess.
The mural itself is in line with the mayor's intention for the local art to be free of political or controversial topics/colors/designs.