Home Lifestyle ‘The energy is amazing!’ Scenes from Gersh Park’s streetball opening night

‘The energy is amazing!’ Scenes from Gersh Park’s streetball opening night

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There’s no better place for a hoop head than New York in the summer. And there may be no better place in the city than Linden Park in East New York — affectionately known as Gersh Park, after George Gershwin Junior High School, which borders the park.

“The energy is amazing. Everybody out here is striving to achieve something,” says Jah Suno, a 22-year-old Brooklynite who has come out to Gersh for the first night of the men’s summer basketball league. “Nowhere else you can get this type of people right here on that same energy.”

Photo by Stephanie Keith

One among an elite tier of Brooklyn streetball leagues — along with Brevoort Basketball League and Zone 6 in Bed-Stuy and The Coney Island ClassicGersh Park Basketball is run by PNW Sports Inc., a non-profit that organizes annual tournaments and off-season events. Last Friday saw the tip-off of their summer tournament, which will run through early August.

“Gersh Park is part of the fabric of NYC — the fabric where everyone wants to be a part of this family-oriented atmosphere where you’ll see some of the best basketball in New York City,” says Damian “DP” Pitts, commissioner and CEO of Gersh Park Basketball.

Damian “DP” Pitts, commissioner and CEO of Gersh Park Basketball (Photo by Stephanie Keith)

Here, fashion, music and athleticism combine in a see-and-be-seen spectacle that escalates in intensity throughout the season.

“That’s what the summer is really about,” says Ivan Isakov, the Brooklyn-based founder of Clash TV, an interactive livestreaming platform that connects fans to streetball. “[It’s] an opportunity for the community to come together and the players to make a little money and showcase their talents.” (Although run by a non-profit, Gersh league players do make a nominal sum for playing.)

Photo by Stephanie Keith

Gersh — at the corner of Linden Boulevard and Vermont Street — has been hosting this summer league for 18 years (13 of which have been sponsored by Nike), and the final matchup of Friday’s opening games was the highly anticipated contest between SOG and Sean Bell Allstars, which saw Delroy James, “The Professional” from the Sean Bell team, hit a surprise three-pointer to win the game at the buzzer.

Fans react to the buzzer-beating three-pointer (Photo by Stephanie Keith)

“Manhattan has Dyckman and Brooklyn has Gersh Park,” says Young Lito, a rapper whose brothers are playing in the adult men’s league. (Manhattan also boasts the legendary Rucker Park)  “I always come to Gersh Park. It’s the Mecca of Brooklyn basketball.”

Hugging it out after the game (Photo by Stephanie Keith)

The post ‘The energy is amazing!’ Scenes from Gersh Park’s streetball opening night appeared first on Brooklyn Magazine.

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