Summer is the best time for ballers to bring our A-game to the streets. Whether you’re a college hooper looking for some competition to crack on, or a wash-up who still has a midrange jumpshot, the blacktop is the sacred ground where we can all come together for trash talk, ankle breakers, and the occasional physical threat from a sore loser who turned the ball over six times. Here are three top courts to run pickup, mostly after the sun goes down but in some cases during the daytime as well.
Named after its location in the Fenway-Kenmore neighborhood, “The Fens.” You might not realize it ahead of time since the Fens is more known for gardening and its proximity to Red Sox baseball than it is for hoops, but this is a fairly serious hub for pickup B-ball in Boston, so don’t just show up thinking it’s going to be a stroll in the park (even though it is in a beautiful park). The Fens courts are full of players who are ready to pin your weak layup against the backboard or leap over you on every rebound that bounces off the rim. Show up here at noon if you have weak knees, but if you’re really trying to hoop, go at around 7 pm when the talent lines the bleachers waiting for a game. There’s also a scenic view of Boston, giving the location a real NBA Streets Vol. 2 feeling as a bonus.
- Address: 125 The Fenway, Boston
Watch your step when you roll here with your squad, as you might step on some dog leftovers on your way to the court. But besides being a popular pup run, Peters Park is an extremely competitive pickup spot that is known for running great games regularly. The park features two basketball courts that attract lots of skilled players from the South End, so strap up your hyperdunks if you’re willing to run with the best of ’em. It’s also a sweet destination to bring your kid (if you have one) while you play, since the playground is in perfect view right next to the court. That way you can keep an eye on your little one while Shammgoding a defender at the same time.
- Address: 1277 Washington St., Boston
If you’re a young gun who is tired of playing against older, quick-tempered ballers, then go to Gilmore Park in Waltham right outside of Boston. This recently renovated court not only has the most solid rims, netting, and backboards in the area, but also has high school- and college-aged competition ready to play. The talent varies, making the court less intimidating to jump into, but if you come during the right hours, there are some kids who could give you a run for your money.
- Address: 90 Hall St., Waltham