Like the Court? Its Gotta Be the Shoes

Since 1999, Nike has been recycling old sneakers with their Reuse-A-Shoe program. They basically dump old kicks into a massive blender-type device and use the resulting "grind" to make all kinds of athletic surfaces, both indoors and out. To date, Nike has shipped nearly 6.5 million pounds of this usable substance to be used as tracks, tennis and basketball courts around the world.

I've played tennis and jogged on similar surfaces, and as you'd expect, they're very easy on the knees and other creaky joints. They seem to be able to make the courts in different colors too, so that's cool. But my favorite attribute is the fact that you can play in Jordans while running on Jordans - hard to be more Like Mike than that.

Here's a quick roundup of just a few of the "Nike Grind" basketball courts here in North America:

Los Angeles has a handful of these types of athletic surfaces, including this one at the Challenger's Boys and Girls Club and a couple sweet end-to-end joints at George Washington Carver Park.

Sonics' green and yellow in Seattle.

Watch out for coyotes at this court in San Antonio.

Multiple courts in Portland, Oregon, including this scenic tree-lined pair and this odd one with a smaller court bisecting it. Someone should invent a game where all of the hoops are in play. 4 Ball, anyone?

Heat it up like The Microwave at this Detroit court.

"Boston You're My Home" - looks like there's room for another court next to this green one in Dorchester. I'm going to lace 'em up and head to this court soon and get a feel for it - review to follow.

Someone's popping an elbow jumper at this tidy little court in Toronto (you may have to zoom all the way in for this one).

Center-court Swoosh in Jacksonville. Looks like this one has two smaller courts running through it.

Take your pick at these two black courts in San Francisco.

Did you go for 40 on one of these courts? Let us know at stories@basketballworldtour.com


Reggie Lewis in Boston and Baltimore

Driving through Dorchester (a neighborhood of Boston) this Winter and I saw this sweet Reggie Lewis memorial mural. My father used to take me to see Reggie when he was filling it up for Northeastern University. Later, when I attended N.U. myself and Reggie was balling for the Celtics, he'd often be around playing pickup games at the long-gone courts on Huntington Ave. Those courts, like Reggie, are missed.

This court is just around the corner from Dunbar High in Baltimore, where Reggie went to school and played alongside fellow future NBA-ers Mugsy Bogues, Reggie Williams and David Wingate. Not a bad squad.

Playground Ballin' in the Nation's Capital

I lived in D.C for a year in 2002, and when I wasn't working and checking out the local landmarks, I was running full court hoops at the courts in Adams Morgan (especially after my bike got stolen - ouch).

The talent level at that particular court was better than what I was used to in Boston, especially at the point guard position. As much as you can have set positions in pickup basketball, the smaller, quicker, better ball-handlers ruled - always looking to run and always willing to dish the rock to an open teammate (even when some passes caromed off unsuspecting heads).

Other than my girlfriend at the time, I hardly knew anyone in D.C., and the regular players at the Adams Morgan court became my almost-constant companions. More than a couple times I rounded the corner to the courts and there were five or six dudes sitting around waiting for someone with a ball to show up. I'd just roll it out and the game was on.

The photo above is from a court on Euclid Street in D.C. with an insane "Wizard Of Oz" themed graffiti mural. Good games at this court on the weekends, and you can graze the free samples at Whole Foods down the street post-game.

Sign up to run hoops at Meadowbrook Park in Chevy Chase (up the road from D.C. on the Maryland border). Two courts and they both have lights -no need for the night-vision goggles.

Dave McKenna has a great piece in the Washington City Paper about how D.C.'s traditional "make-it, take-it" rule is being slowly usurped by "loser's outs." It's a great look at playground basketball history in Cap City.

The templates for the slick and slippery D.C. ball-handlers are Steve Francis and Allen Iverson, who both perfected their games on the Capital's playgrounds. Chris Palmer at ESPN The Magazine writes about these and other D.C. streetball legends and the city's signature move - the killer crossover.

Backboard Photography

For as long as I've had a camera, I've always loved to take photos of outdoor basketball hoops and courts. Something about a solitary, silent backboard makes me want to shoot - good thing I have both my camera and ball in the trunk.

I recently picked up a new camera, and I'm looking forward to taking more photos of basketball courts - both empty and packed.

The hoop and haunted schoolhouse pictured is in Lowell, Massachusetts - hometown of writer Jack Kerouac. One brick and it looks like that rim is coming down.

Anyone else out there got some nice basketball related shots? Send them along and we'll post them on this site.