The best basketball courts have their own unique character
As young basketball players grow up learning and loving the game, certain courts tend to take pride of place in their hearts. These include the blacktops of their childhood, where they first picked up the roundball, as well as the arenas where they had their most memorable performances. For hoopers across the world though, there are some sacred venues that are worth a pilgrimage halfway across the globe.
Rucker Park: This has to be the most famous basketball court in the world. Beginning in the 1950s with a tournament that drew crowds from all over New York, this most hallowed of destinations has seen guest players from Julius Erving and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant. As the old-timers like to say, if you have not played at the Rucker, you don’t have respect on the streets. A strong competitor in the same city is West 4th, known as ‘The Cage’, with its extremely narrow margins, chain-linked fences and physical play.
Venice Beach: As one of the most vibrant attractions in Los Angeles, Venice Beach sees millions of visitors every year to its promenade and to Muscle Beach. For basketball devotees however, the only reason for visiting has to be its famed courts, which has seen countless streetball legends, NBA players and even the film stars from the classic ‘White Men Can’t Jump’.
Madison Square Garden: ‘The Garden’ is the sole professional basketball venue in this list, and for good reason. Billed as ‘The World’s Most Famous Arena’, it has hosted a variety of top sporting events and has also played host to some of the most memorable NBA performances. This includes Michael Jordan’s infamous double-nickel game to mark his return, Reggie Miller’s insane fourth quarter to beat the Knicks as well as 60-plus points outings from Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony.