Late Summer Scene: B-Ball in Sunset Park

Men and teens playing in the park

The teen in a gray shirt looks to pass the ball down low for a layup. (Gregory Jackson/ NY City Lens)


A great struggle took place Thursday afternoon in Sunset Park as teenagers and men battled for victory on the basketball court. Although they all fought hard, one displayed more tenacity and the will to win.

Sunset Park is home to many activities, many of which include a view of Manhattan, but none have a clearer view than the players on the Sunset Park basketball court. With no tree to block their view, all they had was the city and their game.


The ball tipped off the metal backboard as the man in the Boston Celtics T-shirt came down with a rebound. He immediately went back up with a shot of his own. The ball slammed into the rim, with a “clink clack”  as it flew off. Shot after shot arced through the air but none were connecting for the players that day, even with low-pressure outside defense.

As a result of the constant shooting, it only took ten minutes for the teen in the gray cutoff shirt to rack up four clean blocked shots. In addition, he also caused three tipped balls, resulting in turnovers, and created several assists from layups. It wasn’t until the 12th minute that the first jump shot was made, by a fairly short and stocky player in a black jersey. Following this shot only layups were made. Shooting layups didn’t make it any easier on the players, however, as close defense was enforced inside the key all game long.

One golden opportunity appeared like a gift, as a teen in a blue shirt with a flat-top haircut received the ball for a driving layup. He was freed up by his teammate through the use of a solid screen. As the teen approached the basket, his eyes lit up as he took off on one foot. The ball hit the bottom of the rim and was recovered by —Who else?—the kid in the gray shirt, who then hit the game winner to end it all.

The teen in the blue shirt looked down in disbelief as he walked away. His teammate, the one wearing the Boston Celtics shirt,  patted him on the back. “We got ’em next game man,” he said.