Archive for the 'Best of Playground' Category

Harlem’s Niki Avery: Baller and Rapper.

Bounce 25 includes a new front of book column called Why do Playground? The segment features players who love to watch the summer playground game and take moves back to their winter leagues to get buckets. Niki played on the Greek National Team and is known as one of the top female guards on the New York City circuit. Niki also has MC skills and one of her dreams is to perform as a rapper and then play a game as a baller on the pro level. One day…

Photo by Rafael Roy

The 2010 Nike Tournament of Champions was about one thing – Namesake. I had a convo with Corey “Homicide” Williams a few weeks before the game and he told me two important things about the city game. “It takes a long time to build a name but only a second to lose it,” Homicide said. Makes sense.

Watching a player kill summer after summer only adds to their legacy. It’s why players like the newly retired John “Franchise” Strickland, the master of post finishing for several years in New York City, are so revered in playground basketball – he owned the game in his prime and now in its 4th year, the Nike T.O.C. can bite that rep and now be called “The Franchise” of NYC tournament ball. Read More »

Two weeks ago, Rajon Rondo came to New York City and showed up at court in Harlem to spread the word about this summer’s Red Bull 2on2 Revolution. And as you can see below, the scoring system works perfectly for his game. So if you’re looking to win $2,000 this summer, make sure you and your teammate signup in a city near you. There are still a few spots left for the first three stops: Boston (7/17), New York City (7/24) and Philadelphia (7/31). Don’t sleep!

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The way 2-on-2 basketball is played is about to get flipped - and it could earn you $2,000. This summer, the Red Bull 2on2 Revolution is going to be taking over a city near you, and if you and a teammate have what it takes, you can walk away with the title and the cash.

Here’s how it’s going to go down: For five (almost) consecutive weekends starting in mid-July, the Red Bull team will be taking over iconic playgrounds in major East Coast cities with all-day 2-on-2 basketball tournaments. 32 teams will battle it out in each city in a single-elimination format, with the winning squad taking home the cash and other prizes. The twist? Read More »

Stanley Lumax from Converse got me hip to their new campaign with Shammgod. Shammgod recalls his childhood basketball regimen and “shaking his own shadow.”

Black History Month Reading.

“Most people get it wrong. History isn’t about showcasing the differences between us and those who lived before us so that we can feel superior; it’s about revealing the similarities so we can feel gratitude and humility. – Forward written by Quincy Jones in the book: On the Shoulders of Giants.

I grew up in the same projects that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar lived in during his teenage years. Kareem’s importance as a player is obvious as the All-Time Leading Scorer in NBA history but it is his writing talent as a “MC” of African-American history that makes the book published a few years back titled On the Shoulders of Giants a must read. The book is written in the code of African-American communication – one that calls for a response from the crowd it addresses. Sounds like Streetball to me!

Jazz-inspired Kareem developed his famous hook shot from a never-duplicated inspiration that started with James Couch, his first playground coach. Ask him (At 78, still able to display the pristine hook shot form.) one day to shoot a hook shot and see what I mean.

I highlighted Jabbar’s importance in a piece I wrote in Bounce 23 called From the Dotted Line is Whack…?? Kareem’s dominance caused the NCAA to ban the dunk in ‘67 and the energy of the dunk became an after school project playground experiment back in the day. High School players expressed themselves in the air and at the rim after their seasons finished with a new creative style inspired by the R&B and subsequent Disco craze that swept the nation in the ’70s. Dr. J and David Thompson were children of that generation. That all turned into the greatest of all music phenomena – Hip Hop.

The creativity of the sample and scratch was the inspiration for one of the principle GrandMasters of the Air – Michael Jordan. Bounce 23’s article is a tribute to Kareem’s basketball talent and strong jazz background and shows the connection to the subsequent aerial explosion the NBA saw mature into a beast with Air Jordan.

So all you hip hop heads, feel Grandmaster Flash, Grandmaster Caz, DJ Hollywood, Jammaster J and DJ GrandWizard Theodore – men who gave RUN DMC, Jay Z, P. Diddy and the rest a way to eat well – as my inspiration for this article if you press Read More »

As an Ohio native, I love to hear stories about “Living Legends” who played ball. Coming out of Roth High School, Dwight Anderson was a standout for Kentucky and USC. His stint in the NBA did not last long because of drugs and alcohol, yet his game and personality is not forgotten. I read an article in the Dayton Daily News that highlights Anderson’s life and I suggest that you guys check it out.

Click HERE to read the article.

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I heard the name stated in Hip-Hop songs as a youth, yet I had no idea at the time who Karlton Hines really was. It was until I did research that I see why his name is an urban legend in the Bronx. It was supposed to be like clockwork; Karlton Hines was expected to be in the NBA. Unfortunate circumstances though left him six feet deep. Read More »