Although, at the national level, perhaps football and baseball are the most popular sports in America, basketball is the king of all sports in New York: there are basketball courts all over the city and many New Yorkers are lovers of the orange ball.
First of all, the best thing to do would be to hit the ball on one of the most popular playgrounds in New York. If you want to put your skill to the test with the basket, you may find a basket and some people willing to play with you in one of the top courts around the city.
If playing is not your thing, you can still enjoy to watch a cool game from the court’s side with a coffee and a bagel in your hands (like I do).
The Cage, also known as ‘The West Fourth Street Court’, is one of the most famous courts in the New York basketball world.
Its name comes from the fence that surrounds the court. A peculiarity is that its dimensions are inferior to the official ones and this forces the players to be faster and more careful in their movements.
The Cage is very popular with streetball players who come from the Bronx, but also national stars of basketball have used it in the past.
It is located in the heart of the Greenwich village, just south of Manhattan, on the corner between Washington Square and West Fourth Street.
Another popular place is Rucker park. That's where some legends of basketball were born and it is known to all basketball fans because it has appeared many times in movies and it was mentioned in books alike.
Rucker Park is an authentic mecca for basketball fans and it is considered the Madison Square Garden of street basketball.
This famous New York court hosts many tournaments during the summer, organized there because everyone in New York knows this location on the edge of the Harlem River, at the corner of Fred Douglas boulevard, just north of Manhattan.
The Entertainers Basketball Classic league is organized here, a great event in which one can enjoy an authentic street basketball game in all its splendor.
It is also pretty great to visit this place on the weekend, because it is then that the grounds are the most animated and some players, although not professionals, are very good and some stunts are acrobatics are just fun to watch!
Many NBA players have played in Rucker Park, but there are many others who didn’t want to play here, in my opinion for fear of being humiliated by street players.
Another place my friends suggested me (because I’m a fan of watching basketball) is Dyckan Park.
The level on this court is very high I heard and not everyone is allowed to play here. It’s a sort of ‘upon invitation only court’ located in the Upper West Side in Manhattan.
When it comes to shopping, it is ‘very New Yorker’ to visit the NBA Store on 5th Avenue. There you can find jerseys of most American teams, caps, gadgets of course, but also original balls signed by the most famous players.
Another shop worth the trip is the Flight Club.
This store has the shape of a basketball court: it is really nice with its walls covered with custom sneakers, caps and other basketball memorabilia.
To watch an NBA game, one must go to the Madison Square Garden to support the local team, the New York Knicks, but some prefer the Brooklyn Nets and this team plays at the Barclays Center instead.