There comes a time for every sports fanatic to make a pilgrimage to that one place where their beloved game began. For golf fans that happens to be Scotland, for soccer fans it’s England, and for basketball fans it is undoubtedly the good old US of A.
Unlike any other sport in America, its heart and soul come from the street, with many of the game’s hall of famers starting out in yard games and going on to achieve greatness.
The only way to do your US basketball pilgrimage is to plan a road trip, taking in all the iconic b-ball spots on both the East and West coasts.
Here are some you simply must visit on your American basketball journey of a lifetime!
Caption: Take the opportunity to hit some of the country’s most famous public courts
1. Chicago for Slam Dunking Wanderers
Chicago’s United Center saw some of the best ball ever played on parquet when Michael Jordan strutted his stuff there. It is still worth a visit now, just to imagine what it must have been like to see the magic man float his way to the rim.
2. New York for Basketball Fanatics
When it comes to public cage courts spawning superstars and urban baller legends, the Big Apple is the place to go. Why not join a game yourself and challenge the locals? Just don’t expect to win at the likes of Rucker Park and The Cage. When you are done on the street, why not catch the Knicks at the MSG?
If you’re worried about arriving at Madison Square Garden without knowing what has happened in the games leading up to the one you’re about to watch, there are plenty of expert tipsters on hand, so you can engage in passionate discussions with local fans in the bleachers, in between cheering on your favourite players.
3. LA for B-Ballers
Los Angeles plays host to not one but two NBA teams, which tells you all you need to know about this city’s obsession with the sport.
Head to the Staples Center to catch all the pro action and then go see where many of the players cut their teeth, in the searing heat of the Venice Beach public courts, which inspired movies like White Men Can’t Jump.
4. Philadelphia for Basketball Fans
Although perhaps not as famous for its street scene as New York and LA, Philadelphia’s 16th and Susquehanna basketball scene was legendary back in the day. The amateur league has sadly since disbanded, but you can still visit all the places that once made it great.