Basketball is one of America’s games that cannot be separated by any class ranking on the social hierarchy.
From asphalt courts in low-income neighborhoods to the well-lit arenas that house the million-dollar superstar talents of the NBA, basketball hoops bring joy to millions across the United States.
Here are nine basketball courts that every hoops fan needs to visit…enjoy.
Venice Beach (Los Angeles)
Southern California is renowned for its sunshine, palm trees and beautiful beaches.
Venice Beach, however, is better known for its outdoor muscle buildingand hallowed basketball courts.
White Men Can’t Jump was filmed at these courts. In unrelated news, Heisman winner Jameis Winston recently proved the iconic film’s theory to be false.
Aside from the classic Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes flick, the Venice courts are most famous for random NBA superstar sightings like Dwight Howard and Blake Griffin and for the massive summer tournament that is held annually.
Rucker Park (Harlem, N.Y.)
Rucker Park is without a doubt the most famous basketball court on the planet.
Located off 155th and Harlem River Drive in Upper Manhattan, Holcombe Rucker Park was once the most popular basketball court for amateur basketball players to showcase their talent in an effort to land a professional contract.
NBA icons Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant have made Rucker appearances—in true Greek god-like fashion no less—although the most storied legends of Harlem’s top hoopsters are the likes of “Helicopter” Herman Knowings, Earl “The Goat” Manigault and Joe “The Destroyer” Hammond.
Rucker Park made these legends so famous that Don Cheadle played Earl Manigault in the HBO movie Rebound, while “The Destroyer” was selected in the fifth round of the 1971 NBA draft by the Los Angeles Lakers because Wilt Chamberlain told them to.
Madison Square Garden (Manhattan, N.Y.)
Whether it’s basketball, music, ice hockey or theatre, the barn that sits between 31st and 33rd Streets in Manhattan is known as the world’s most famous arena for entertainment.
Though the Rangers have been lacing up their skates for 85 years in New York, the sports world knows The Garden as the mecca for elite basketball competition.
The Knicks have represented two 60-point individual performances from Carmelo Anthony and Bernard King; however, the most memorable game came in 1995 when Michael Jordan dropped 55 points on the Knicks’ home court just days after ending his dream to play professional baseball.
Jordan’s performance set the standard for high-scoring games by an individual in Madison Square Garden and has since been matched by the likes of Kobe Bryant (61 points, 2009), Stephen Curry (54 points, 2013) and LeBron James (52 points, 2009).
Carmelo’s 62-point effort in early January stands as the current scoring record at Madison Square Garden.
United Center (Chicago)
Chicago’s United Center is home to two of the most unique basketball players the game has ever seen—the legendary Michael Jordan and hometown hero Derrick Rose.
The Bulls joined the NBA in the 1966-67 season and saw minimal success until drafting Michael Jordan in the early 1980s.
He brought seven scoring titles to the United Center, and after the Bulls landed fellow NBA Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen and the “Zen Master” Phil Jackson, they won six NBA titles in eight seasons during the 1990s.
After the days of Jordan, the man who brought hope back to faithful Chicago fans was South Side’s own Derrick Rose.
Since being drafted in 2008, he is the only player in the NBA who was crowned MVP over LeBron James.
Staples Center (Los Angeles)
The Staples Center has emerged as one of the league’s premier venues to showcase NBA talent.
Lakers fans have been spoiled with Hall of Fame talent like Magic Johnson, Wilt Chamberlain, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, James Worthy, Jerry West and all-time leading scorer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
More recently, however, the best team to call Staples Center home has been Chris Paul’s Los Angeles Clippers and their trademark showcase “Lob City.”
Whether it’s Kobe and Shaq, Magic and Kareem’s “Showtime Lakers” or Lob City, Staples Center has always been the place to visit for exciting basketball.
TD Garden (Boston)
Behind one of the greatest players in the league’s history Bill Russell, they won their first NBA championship in 1956 and ultimately brought home 11 NBA titles over a 13-year span.
The C’s would win two more NBA rings in the 1970s before drafting the man who would help make the game into what is today—”The Hick from French Lick” Larry Bird.
Boston would play in the NBA Finals five times in the 1980s, but it wouldn’t be until 2008 when “The Big Three” of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett brought home Boston’s 17th NBA title
16th and Susquehanna (North Philadelphia)
In a city fueled by America’s earliest history, it is no wonder a popular urban hobby like streetball went unnoticed on a national scale.
While courts like Rucker Park, Oakland’s Mosswood Park and Chicago’s Jackson Park are notorious for their competitive summer league today, Philadelphia once ran one of the most entertaining and talented amateur summer competitions at the basketball court on 16th and Susquehanna.
Though hundreds of local hoops fans would descend nightly upon 16th and Susquehanna, the league that once brought streetball legends and future NBA talent has since folded.
Thanks to the team with Diamond Eye Sports, the pictured video trailer is for a film called 16th and Philly—a documentary aimed at sharing the incredible story about how basketball once rallied communities throughout Philadelphia.
The Cage (Manhattan, N.Y.)
Named for the metal fencing that encloses the basketball court, Manhattan’s “The Cage” court sits on West 4th Street in Greenwich Village.
The above clip is a hip-hop video that was filmed at The Cage—a heartfelt song called Heart and Soul of New York City by K1X.
Greenwich Village is one of Manhattan’s many unique neighborhoods, and basketball competition at The Cage continually draws spectators at every hour of the day.
Unlike the other courts on this list, The Cage is primarily known for its non-regulation size—adding emphasis to the physicality of the game.
Oracle Arena (Oakland, Calif.)
Despite lack of historical prowess like the Lakers, Celtics and Knicks, Northern California’s basketball fans have rallied around the Golden State Warriors to create the NBA’s most electric atmosphere.
Unfortunately for Warriors fans, one of the most memorable moments in Oracle’s recent history was LeBron James’ clutch three-pointer as time expired—the first game winning three-pointer for the growing legacy of “King James.”
Aside from LeBron’s nothing-but-net game-winner, “Roaracle” has seen some incredible entertainment like Andre Iguodala and Russell Westbrook’s “double game-winner” or one of Stephen Curry’s many ice-cold finishes.
Win or lose, DubNation faithful pack Oakland’s Oracle Arena every night to create one of the most incredible atmospheres in professional sports.