Yes, I've become spoiled playing pickup basketball on Life Time Fitness' courts. And I love how afterwards I can take a shower in their first-class locker rooms and then grab a Mocha Madness with peanut butter smoothie at Life Cafe on my way out.
A world without playground basketball is not a world I want to live in.
My fondest basketball memories was playing playground hoops in New York's East Village in my twenties. Having moved to New York with a buddy shortly after college graduation, we didn't know a soul when we arrived in NYC.
How did we meet people? We hit the playground basketball courts on the weekends. We quickly met a core group of guys who played regularly on a court behind a school on 11th Street and 1st Ave.
I'm still in contact with some of those guys today.
Besides building life-long friendships, playground basketball makes you a better indoor player. I like what Rahim Thompson said in the article about how playing outdoors builds toughness:
"I get it. AAU is great for exposure, but you get toughness outside. You got the crowd on top of you screaming; you hit the ground hard as crap. So you get inside when there's 2,000 people and it's all air conditioned, and someone starts screaming at you, it's like, are you serious? I just had dudes under the basket talking about my mama."
So before Winter arrives, take your game outdoors. Meet some new hoopers and build your toughness. Your indoor game will thank you.
And let's start saving playground basketball.