It’s summer time, and that means kids have more time for sports. In some communities, youth sports means organized leagues, with trained coaches and teammates their own age. But in New York City, for more than half a million people of all ages, summer means pick-up basketball, played at more than 700 public parks throughout the city.
Pickup ball in New York has its own intense culture, rules, and spirit of fellowship, and they provide a community core for many neighborhood kids. A few take the skills they learn to the NBA.
Just in time for summer, a new documentary traces the history and culture of street ball in New York City parks. Made by Bobbito Garcia, a veteran of both the NBA and NYC pickup ball, and French cinematographer Kevin Coulihau, the film features youthful recollections of former professional players like Dr. J and Kenny Anderson, along with scenes from parks throughout the five boroughs over the the last two summers. Both filmmakers can still hold their own on the basketball court, which proved critical to gaining access and interviews, and to building the trust required to film games.
The film is now being shown to community audiences around New York City, at parks and recreation centers. Soon it will hit film festivals, and eventually, the filmmakers plan for it to be available for download on services like iTunes. You can keep up with screening schedules at the film’s Facebook page, here.
Meanwhile, check out the trailer: