View Full Version : Top NBA pickup games in L.A.

08-11-2008, 08:28 AM
This summer my mission was to discover the five best public places to play pickup hoops in Greater Los Angeles. My top five basketball spots, based on a combination of athletic talent, aesthetic visuals and sheer entertainment are: 1. UCLA, 2. Santa Monica College, 3. Venice Beach, 4. Marine Park in Santa Monica, 5. Laguna Beach. Legends who might show up at UCLA Student Activities Center, a.k.a. the old Men's Gym include Paul Pierce, Baron Davis and Kevin Garnett. These contests have been going on since Magic Johnson began playing here during the Lakers' Showtime era. UCLA players, walk-ons and All-Americans throughout the country come here to play in one of the nation's most devastating pickup games and test their talents against some of the best the NBA has to offer. The gym is jam-packed with adoring fans. Camera in one hand, Sharpie pen in the other, hundreds of kids line the two parallel courts. Emeka Okafor, Kevin Love, O.J. Mayo, Tyson Chandler and Russell Westbrook might be there flying down the floor with speed and power most fans have never seen from so close.