Many professional athletes find a name for themselves in their sport from starting at the very bottom. Learning and finessing their sport outside of the professional environment, where anything goes, and there’s no association to tell them what they can and can’t do. In the world of basketball, the very bottom of playing the sport is in streetball – an amateur version of the game that is played out on the city streets by those who have a passion for the game like no other. Streetball tends to be an unorganised, unique take on the sport of basketball, but there are tournaments out there to showcase this amateur side of the game and give players the chance to showcase what they can do. Quai54 is an annual gathering in Paris, France to showcase the Nike x Jordan World Streetball Championships. When Nike invited us out to Paris to check it out, I couldn’t refuse. Unfortunately I’ve lost the majority of my coverage of both Q54 and the Jordan 30 year anniversary celebrations. Memories remain, but apologies for the lack of coverage.
Basketball. A sport dominated by the United States, and growing in talent and popularity every year across almost every other continent. While we see the proof of all that, there is one exception: the UK. There’s a passion for the game here, but it’s not being paid attention to. ‘Paid’ being a key word there, with funding cuts a common thing for the sport here and a hurdle that is yet to be cleared. Players in the national team are having to live on £15 a day in the build up to international tournaments, with tiny beds and early morning flights. After the NBA’s recent trip to London, I’ve been having a think about the current state of the game in the UK and where it’s heading.