Jason's Streetball Blog

Check my Streetball Blogs from: Venice Beach, Las Vegas, Memphis, The Rucker (New York City), Chicago and more...
Streetball at Venice Beach, Los Angeles - Trash Talk, Dunkers & White Men Can't JumpStreetball at Sunset Park, Las Vegas - Dunk Photos in your faceStreetball at Halle Park, Memphis - 24 hour pickup gamesEBC at The Rucker - Streetball Dunks, Crossovers & handles featuring Alimoe AKA The Black Widow & The PharmacistNeighborhood Streetball in Chicago - Balling with the locals

Friday, October 19, 2007

Bay Area Pickup Basketball

* USF Koret Center (Turk & Stanyan) - be prepared to shell out up to $10 for a run but you should get quality runs there - especially early saturday mornings

* Folsom & 6th (Gene Friend Community Center) - You can just about always find a free game of hunch or 4 on 4 in the afternoon. best runs on sunday at 12:30pm and sometimes on weeknights at 5-5:30pm.

* Sunset Rec center (29th Ave. & Lawton Street) - Free, Saturdays either at 11am or 2pm and weekdays apparently run after lunch although this gym can get crowded. lots of asians play here

* Palega-Portola Rec Center (500 Felton st) - Free, apparently runs 4 on 4 and sometimes 5 on 5 monday, tuesday and thursday nights. lots of local younger high school kids there when i visited

* St Marys Rec Center (100 Crescent Ave) - Free, plenty of local kids on Tuesday nights after 7pm

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Europa Streetball

Over the past few weeks in europe, I managed to play ball in Sweden, Macedonia and Serbia (couldn't find a court in Germany).

Swedish Ballers

There were not many ballers amongst the swedes in Varberg (everyones into football instead). There was one NBA prospect dude (Christian Maraker) at the Varberg stadium I balled at but he was in-between pro contracts and wouldn't play.

Bitola BallersMSF Andre & Jase
On to Bitola in Southern Macedonia where there were plenty of entheusiastic players at the outdoor court (which had stadium seating!). I bumped into a fellow aussie baller that I happened to know by reputation - Andre from MSF was visiting at the same time which was great because I'm a big fan of his work.

Belgrade Kalemegdan

Next stop, Belgrade - home of many famous ballers and the winners of the 1980 olympics and world champions in 1970, 1978, 1990, 1998 & 2002 (think Stojavic, Milicic, Pavlovic and of course the famous chain-smoking Vlade Divac).

Belgrade had a fascinating professional club (Red Star) that was running junior training sessions all day, every day right in the middle of the city's biggest tourist attraction - the Kalemegdan fortress. Most of the kids I watched were between 13-16 and the coaching was all taken very seriously (however a couple of college-bound older kids confided in me that serbian basketball has gone down the toilet over the past few years and that the current crop of coaches are all corrupt and inexperienced).

I got some pretty reasonable standard pickup games on the And-1 courts at this fortress highlighted by some dubious foul calls (Chopper would say, Harden up Belgrade!).

I'm pretty bummed the euro-league was in the off season because the atmosphere at those games must be sensational (i've heard stories of fans throwing metal coins onto the floor during the game when they get upset).

Overall, style-wise the europeans didn't seem to attack the basket a lot and seemed to settle for jumpers which contrasts a lot from the american game which is probably more slashing & attacking. It was good to see basketball being taken very seriously by some but it was clear that football is the number one sport in Europe.

Varberg (Sweden) Streetball Information:
Court Location: (to come)
Courts: 2 (indoor)
Runs: You better ask someone there to try and organize one - good luck because most ballers from Varberg leave for the states at an early age

Bitola (Macedonia) Streetball Information:
Court Location: next to the park, near the bus station
Courts: 2
Runs: 6pm onwards every night (during summer I assume)

Belgrade (Serbia) Streetball Information:
Court Location: Kalemegdan Fortress
Courts: 2 (half-courts labelled And 1 - the full courts can also be hired for ~1,000 denari per hour)
Runs: Late Afternoon

Belgrade Fortress Courts:

Sunday, October 15, 2006

USA Streetball Tour Recap

Jase (the white boy) at a run with Venice Beach Streetball LocalsWell, tour over I guess.

What a sensational trip it's been - from Midnight Memphis queues for next to And 1 streetballers bringing the house down at the Rucker.

From Hollywood brothers at Venice Beach to raw athletes tearing up Vegas.

This has truly been the experience of a life-time - playing street-ball in the USA is like a dream come true for any international baller who has a basketball upbringing growing up on NBA media.

Big shout out to everyone who hooked me up with a run - apart from EBC at the Rucker, getting a go everywhere has been a really fun and friendly experience!

So that's it then? Well, if you ever make it out to San Fran, Cali - let me know and we can run together one Saturday at Lawton Gym in the Sunset - San Fran is the new home base.

Streetball Tips for Running in the USA:
Find the Ballers: Check Shoe Stores (eg. Foot Locker) and in public, keep an eye out for guys wearing balling gear (and 1 kicks, baggy shorts etc.). Ask them 'when/where the ballers at?'
Get Next: Unless there's an uneven group of guys you can pad out, the first thing you need to figure is who's got next on the court you want to run on. If you ask on-lookers you should find out pretty quick. If no-one has next, tell the current players that you got 'next'
Run with Next: If someone has next, ask them if they're 'all up' (memphis-style) or if they have their team. If they think you are a white-boy chump and don't want to run with you, say you've got next after them or 'last' (when you get your run, you will mos def pick up players)
Fouls: Most courts run 'offense-calls', however if you want to carry some cred, you should avoid calling whenever possible unless you get really seriously intentionally hacked (calling defensive fouls on yourself will earn respect)

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Old School vs. Young Blood - Chicago

The big boys banging for a board[9 camera-phone photo's of Old School vs. Young Blood]

When you step into someone elses hood, it's like entering a strangers house. As soon as I stepped out of the car in South Chicago, the first thing I was told was that I was in the wrong neighborhood - not a particularly welcoming feeling (apparently any street numbered in the 100's is not safe).

After checking a dissapointingly emptyish Merril park (E97th & Merril st), I was mistaken for a white-boy hustler by some locals and directed to Stoney Island Park.

This court was loaded and yet confusingly, no-one was running next. I had managed to walk into a weekly neighborhood battle between the local old school squad versus the neighborhood young blood.

I slotted into the old school team to bang against the young dudes (anyone aged 26 up was running old-school) and teamed up with charismatic neighborhood legend Sean 'The Trash-Man' Wright on some old-school pick & rolls.

By reputation, Chicago is known for producing shooters (just like New York is famous for it's handles). The streetball moves on this court contrasted from old-school guys banging the low post to young guys attempting crosses and nailing jumpers.

Although I feel privileged to have run in this hood, i'm not sure whether open runs here are common - it seems like I just got lucky!

Stoney Island Park Streetball Information
Court Location: Corner of South Jeffery Boulevard & E 87th st, Chicago
Courts: 1
Runs: ?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Rucker Park, West 4th and Rockefeller Park - New York City

Koonta Kentay tearing up the Rucker[32 Photo's of EBC at The Rucker]
[4 Photo's of summer League games at West 4th (The Cage)]
[29 Photo's of pickup ball at Nelson Rockefeller Park]

New York is a place you can find the worlds greatest streetballers going about their business like it's strictly pleasure.

For the fan, nothing beats a summer night at the Rucker in Harlem watching EBC (Entertainers Basketball Classic - the Ruckers summer league for New Yorks finest). On the Monday night I attended, the crowd went ballistic when the Pharmacist prescribed handles to black widow (the court announcers new name for Alimoe).

Alimoe & the Playstation were dominant, White Chocolate was ordinary, but the highlight of the night for me (other than getting to throw down for the camera in the pre-show warmup) was this dude 'Koonta Kentay' - he was unstoppable.

Unlike the And 1 tours that have come to Australia, these guys were there to ball - no stuffing around at The Rucker. The next evening had Fat Joe's Terror Squad scheduled against D Band - the court announcers were guaranteeing NBA ballers to play. Apparently Puff Daddy & Jay Z also have crews running in the tourney.

If you’ve ever watched any New York streetball movie (think Above The Rim), that’s the vibe you get when the crowd gets excited at the Rucker. From police, bag-checks & frisks at the entrance (lucky I didn’t bring my gat) to handles & hops – the Rucker has it all!

While I was in New York, I also checked The Cage at West 4th st which was constantly running summer leagues and I played heaps & heaps of ball (there are pick-up games almost on every block in New York).

Rucker Park Streetball Information:
Court Location: "Rucker Park" - Corner of 155th street and Frederick Douglas Boulevard (8th avenue), Harlem (North Manhattan), New York
Directions: Take the B train to the 155th street station (the stop is 155th street and 8th avenue) and you'll be one block from the park. The B stops there at all hours. The D train stops at here late in the evening.
Courts: 1
Runs: You better know Fat Joe
When To Go: Summer-time, check the EBC schedule

Other Places I played ball:
  • Central Park East - near MoMa (86th st)
  • Riverbank State Park - W145th st
  • The Goat Courts "Happy Warrior Playground" - Amsterdam & w98th
  • Booker T washington school - w108th st between amsterdam & Columbus (this is where I initially got the nickname "smoke")

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Parc Des Veterans - Montreal, Canada

The Canadian Frenchies doing their thing[Photo Gallery: 41 photo's of 3 on 3 at Parc Des Veterans - Montreal]

Montreal - the beautiful french speaking city of the province of Quebec (Eastern Canada). Here, the ballers have to compete with ice hockey as the national sport and scores are kept in francais which makes it hard to keep track (Une, deux, trois...).

The local Quebecore's as they're known exude a certain sense of disdain for the English language & as such, gave me a bit of a hard time on the court.

One of the black guys was trying to take advantage of the tourist by hitting, hacking, elbowing & holding me from behind every time I got the ball - he reminded me of Ray Gordon. After much experience watching prison drama on tv, it's my understanding that you have to let a mutha know who's boss, so on the next play when I got the ball in the post, I laid him out with a solid elbow to the head.

When he got up, he remonstrated with an open hand slap to my face and wanted to fight.

I did my crazy eyes raymond expression and yelled out that I didn't want to kill anybody while I was in canada while jumping around like Ultimate Warrior.

They must have been watching crocodile dundee or something because he backed down and play continued.

Unfortunately, I feel like I have now experienced the worst of overseas streetball - stopping a game in order to start a fight.

Parc Des Veterans Streetball Information:
Court Location: "Parc Des Veterans" - Corner of Papinuau & Rue La Fontaine (just north of Papineau train station), Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Courts: 1
Runs: 3 on 3 half-court
Best Time for Runs: 5-8pm

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Halle Park - Memphis

Jason and Zoe at Halle Park[Photo Gallery: 12 (Blurry) photo's of night time 4 on 4 at Halle Park, Memphis]

Pickup games 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? It sounded too good to be true.

Next to the East Memphis Police Station at Halle Park, the 4 courts are more packed at 1am then they are at lunch time (must be something to do with the heat - it's hot out here). If heaven is a playground then this place is spiritual.

There were so many dudes here that there was an hour wait-list of next calls just to get a run on one of the 6 half-court games.

I initially matched up on Zoe - a talented, slashing, crossing, guard/forward hybrid. Later we ran together with Leon & Jason to hold court from around 11:30pm until 2:30am.

The standard was pretty decent mostly highlighted by some unbelievably accurate downtown shooting (one kid put on 9 treys in a row under pressure against us).

The atmosphere was real friendly barring a single push & shove incident that held a game up 20 minutes. Some ballers seemed more interested in the cash action on the sideline dice game but two of the center courts (including ours) earlier on in the night featured dozens of onlookers.

Memphis is a predominantly African-American city known as the final resting place of two of history's most famous kings (Martin Luther jr. & Elvis). It also deserves to be known for its 24 hour pick-up ball.

Halle Park Streetball Information:
Court Location: "Halle Park" - Corner of Mount Moriah Road & South Mendenhall Road next to the East Memphis Police Station, Memphis, Tennessee
Courts: 4 (one ring missing)
Runs: 4 on 4 half-court
Best Time for Runs: 6-7pm

Friday, May 19, 2006

Sunset Park - Las Vegas

Justin Jamming on everyone[Photo Gallery: 14 Photo's at Sunset Park - Night time 4 on 4 (May 2006)]

When I was hooping at Venice, I met this dude Wayne Griffin who told me the night-time pickup ball in Vegas is solid (Wayne is in the process of developing a ball stadium in Vegas).

Makes sense really considering it's so hot here (the night is definitely where it's at). We rocked up to Sunset Park at 9:30pm on a Wednesday night and found four courts running 5 on 5 until lights-out at 11pm (surprise, surpise - I found Wayne here hooping away: what an addict =]).

The highlight at this place was definitely this kid 'Justin'. He threw down on absolutely anyone who came near him. I was running against Rick & Javier & Justin (who put it down on my head a number of times) teamed with Lamarc & Justin's older brother. Rick's hustle (diving on loose balls on outdoor concrete) kinda reminded me of Wozza back home & Javier vs. Lamarc was a flat-chat shootout.

The standard was pretty reasonable for a Wednesday night however I'm told it bangs on Sundays (from 6 onwards).

Sunset Park Streetball Information:
Court Location: "Sunset Park" - Corner of East Sunset Road & South Eastern Avenue next to the Airport, Las Vegas, Nevada
Courts: 6
Runs: 5 on 5 full-court
Best Time for Runs: Sundays 6 onwards

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Weber State University – Utah

Drew Dukeshire and Zach Hekker throwing 5-8 Dewey Crayton up for the jam[Photo Gallery: 52 photo's at Swenson Gym - Stromberg Athletic Center playing 5 on 5 (April 2006)]

Not expecting much (being in Ogden, Utah – not exactly a streetball mecca), me and my mate Nige (from Melbourne Uni Basketball Club & foundation member of Breakaway) headed over to his uni’s sports center (Weber State) where apparently pickup games can sometimes be found at 4pm on uni-days.

We weren’t going to pay to play until we knew there was some decent ball, but we were pleasantly surprised to find Nick Covington and Nedim Pajevic (two of last seasons starters from WSU’s division 1 college basketball program) playing 1’s – these guys did not miss.

As we were warming up, 10 guys from the Weber State American Football team rocked up and hooked up a game of 5’s (these guys play college football in front of crowds of 20,000+ at WSU – they are local heroes).

By this stage Covington & co. had nicked off, so Nige and I called next on the footy guys to give them some what-for (we played 4 games up to 11 baskets with them). When we got running, the standard was pretty bloody good considering how athletic some of these guys were (Zach Hekker was throwing down some monster cock-backs on fast breaks and Drew Dukeshire looked like he was going to break the apparatus when he flushed his deuces).

Dewey” who Nige reckons plays pickup at WSU regularly, decided he wanted to shut me down, so we had a good tussle up and back (Nige tells me this guy is one of the toughest footy players WSU has ever seen). Nige displayed his current form on a few juicy jumpers – he is the current WSU intra-mural free throw champion (nailing 14 of 15 to take the title 2 weeks back).

After our run, the guys agreed to hold a dunk comp for our paparazzi photographer (my ever-patient girlfriend Irene). They were also interested to see our Sherrin Aussie Rules Football & christened me “Air Melbourne” when I put it to use.

For reference, other ballers from the footy team included: Scotty Goodloe, Craig & Sam North.

Weber State University Streetball Information:
Court Location: "Swenson Gym - Stromberg Athletic Center" - Weber State University, Harrison Boulevard, Ogden, Utah
Courts: 3
Runs: 5 on 5 full-court
Best Time for Runs: School days, 4:30pm onwards
Important Note: You have to know a student at the Uni in order to get in (Thanks again Nige!)

Sunday, April 30, 2006

The Panhandle - San Francisco

My cut-up eyelid after balling with the hacks[Photo Gallery: The Panhandle 9 photo's of 3 on 3 pickup games (San Francisco - April 2006)]

I am told the best streetball in San Francisco is in Oakland.

Unfortunately I am not allowed to go to Oakland because they will kill me.

Apparently there is a turf war going on between rival gangs (African Americans versus Hispanics) and any non-gang members are routinely killed on sight.

That's real dissapointing, however I was directed to the Panhandle as a substitue location where I was promptly elbowed solidly in the eye by a big hack (probably an Ostertag fan). Seriously, the talent here was terrible when I arrived at around 6pm on a Sunday: no full court runs, no understanding of the 'travelling' footwork and a foul first, show how bad your offense is later game philosophy.

Maybe I got unlucky (I am told it gets really good here and I turned up at the wrong time), but seriously, I got better pickup on the way to San Fran on a court in the middle of nowhere in Truckee near Lake Tahoe.

If you want to get to the Panhandle, catch the 5 bus from Market st to Masonic Ave & walk two blocks down.

The Panhandle Streetball Information:
Court Location: "The Panhandle" - 1702 Oak St, San Francisco, California 94117
Courts: 1 full, 2 half
Runs: 3 on 3 half-court
Best Time for Runs: Weekends, 4:30pm onwards

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Venice Beach - Los Angeles

Take it to the rack coz it's windy! [Photo Gallery: Venice Beach - 49 photos of 3 on 3 & 5 on 5 pickup games (April 2006)]

Sun, Surf & Streetball - LA has it made! Being an Aussie who has dreamed of hooping it up at Venice Beach ever since Woody schooled Wesley, getting off the plane & straight onto this court has been on the cards for a long time now.

The first thing that hits you (apart from the obligatory introductory elbow from
some old black dude) is the athleticism - kids here have some jet-propelled hops. Watching a weekend game on the show court, I saw maybe half a dozen guys hammer it during full court runs, and a number of these blokes are sub 6ft!

Each of the past 7 days, I have been running in 3's & 5's both here at Venice and also at playgrounds in nearby Santa Monica. Against most competition I have been holding my own (and then some), but in the weekend games, a few ex-Division 1 College ballers have rocked up to kick my (and everyone elses) arse(s).

Venice Beach has 4 courts with varying standards of competition: from the court 4 no-talent, never-touched-a-ball, tourist-wannabe-hacks to the court 1 will-dunk-on-your-head-without-even-blinking-and-then-tell-you-all-about-it, high school & college ballers. I am told it really depends on the day, but it's safe to say that if there is light, there is quality pick-up ball to be found here!

Oh yeah, it's also worth mentioning that White Men Can't Jump portrayed a real authentic depiction of this place - especially the arguing. Guys here will break up a game for 10 minutes at a time to fight over a line call!

If you love basketball & you ever get a chance to visit LA, check out the playground - Venice rocks!

Streetball Dunk Video of me throwing down a one-hander at Venice Beach:

Venice Beach Streetball Information:
Court Location: The Boardwalk, Venice Beach, near Windward Avenue & the Boardwalk, Venice, California (90291)
Courts: 4
Runs: 3 on 3 half-court & 5 on 5 full-court
Best Time for Runs: Weekends, all day

Sunday, April 02, 2006

MMBL Melbourne Uni vs. Chelsea, 29th March - Waverly Stadium

Lach Strong managed to film a couple of jams from my last MMBL game in Melbourne.

[Low Quality Video Footage of a post-game two handed super fly, main event with extra gravy, Darryl Dawkins commerative, strawberry flavoured I cant believe this white boy thinks he is worth watching self alley oop jam - 1.9mb .wmv Right Click link and choose save link as]

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Pre-Trip Thoughts

[Photo Gallery: Suburban court in Sunshine, Victoria - Throwing down some Dunks (Jan 06)]

I'm getting really excited because I plan on leaving Australia 40 days from now to head over to the US!

My club BigV Pre-season with Melbourne University has being going well and it's a bit disappointing to be having such a good summer preparation with no intention of actually playing the season due to the overseas move.

At this stage, we (my girlfriend and I) are looking to arrive in Los Angeles in mid-April 06 (after a few weeks in Malaysia). Then it's straight to Venice Beach to live out the Billy Hoyle White Man Can't Jump dream (hopefully i'll manage a few show-court runs pending the locals).

We plan on starting our trip in the West Coast and spending our 3 month visa's moving progressively East before finishing in New York City so along the way, I will probably hook up ball in Chicago, Utah (with my mate Nige) & New York!

Hopefully, Irene is going to take photo's of the streetball in the US. Here's some she took at a Street Court in Sunshine, Victoria during January 06.