New Documentary Focuses on the Culture of Playground Basketball

For some, pick-up basketball in the city’s parks is more than just a game, it’s a way of life

For some of the 500,000 New Yorkers who use the city's 700 public basketball courts, pick-up basketball in the city’s parks is more than just a game -- it’s a way of life. 

In their new documentary Doin’ It In The Park, legendary hip-hop DJ and street ball aficionado Bobbito Garcia and acclaimed basketball photographer Kevin Couliau traveled to courts throughout the five boroughs to uncover the story behind New York’s thriving culture of pickup playground basketball. 

“As amazing as the history is of categories of documentaries of basketball, no one’s actually done the most common denominator,” said Garcia in an interview Wednesday on New York Nightly News. “Whether you’re Lebron James or President Obama, you’ve played pickup basketball.”

He added, “We just tried to show that entire environment in an honest manner.”

The film features playground legends like “Pee Wee” Kirkland, “Fly” Williams, God Shamgod, Tim “Headache” Gittens and Corey “Homicide Williams, as well as former NBA stars Julius “Dr. J” Irving, Kenny Smith and Kenny Anderson.

Filming at 180 courts in 75 days, Garcia said he was amazed at the diversity of players and different styles of playing he found across the city.

“You can go from one park in Manhattan to Marine Park in Brooklyn and the rules might be completely different,” Garcia said. “You might have 30 different nationalities represented on one court. So it’s a very unique environment, in fact, the most unique sports environment in the world in my estimation.”

Catch a free screening of the film at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, July 14 at Rucker Park, 155th Street and Frederick Douglass Avenue. Click here for more information on the film and other upcoming screenings, and check out the trailer below:

DOIN' IT IN THE PARK: PICK-UP BASKETBALL, NYC - Trailer from Doin' It In The Park on Vimeo.

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