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The legendary West Fourth basketball courts, aka “The Cage” | Where Locals Go


-I come up here every summer. It’s a legendary court. It’s a legendary tournament. If you can’t master this court, you can’t really play
no where else. -Well, they call it
the “The Cage.” -So it’s like you’re playing
inside of the zoo. -This is the number-one
streetball court. Like, this is where basketball
is at its purest. -The guys that play here
are very aggressive. So no one gives you an inch. To get an inch,
you got to take it. -I’ve been coming to this court
since 1967. It is now one of the most
renowned basketball courts in the world. I grew up in Harlem,
I got a basketball scholarship to go to a junior college —
played for about 20 years. -Go on back down all the way! -I mean, I coached
about eight years. I coached people
like Rod Strickland, Jayson Williams from the Nets,
I coached. There’s two different versions. There’s street basketball, and then there’s
the organized basketball. Organized basketball, you have
to either be part of a team or be recruited by a team. -We got a couple of wins
down here. Playing with this offense. -I’m from Jamaica, New York —
Queens in the house. What made me
start playing at West Fourth is it’s
a legendary court. I always heard stories about it
from the older guys playing here. -15 shoved him in the back.
Two shots. -I’ve been playing up here
since about 2000, 2001, and I got two championships, ’07 and ’08,
and I’m back out here, you know? I’m 44 years old. I’m just living my best life,
come out here to play with the young guys,
you know, teach them a little something
and have some fun. I play tremendous defense. I’m very aggressive. Long extremities —
I’ve got good hands, so they nicknamed me “Spider.” -This is only my second time,
and this time I was definitely
more ready than the first. You can still feel the culture
of basketball, especially streetball, the altercations between
the players, the smack talk. -[Bleep]. -Stuff that’s just not
in the pro game. -Do you play?
Are you going to jump in? -Not at all — never.
Never. I’m only here for the love
the sport. I’m here to watch it go down. Like, that’s it. -The street game, you can just
walk on the streets. They’re open to everyone. -They sign a list
that’ll usually be up over here on the fence. -But you have to earn
your stripes out here. -So you have to have a team —
power forward, shooter forward, center,
point guard, shooting guard. Friends don’t have
nothing to do with that. That’s the only way you
stay out on this court. -You can’t come out here
and say, “May I play basketball please?” No, no, no, no.
It doesn’t work that way. You just come with an attitude,
say “I got next.”

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