Basketball In New York City: What happened to it?

Shashwat BaxiCorrespondent IMarch 15, 2009

New York, New York—Director and Producer Spike Lee is the most devoted basketball fan the New York Knicks have ever had. Even though the Knickerbockers are 28-38 and 25.0 games out of first place in the Eastern Conference, Spike still loves his basketball team. Unfortunately for Lee and the Knicks, he is about the only one who still does!

Hip Hop Mogul and Legend Sean "Jay-Z" Carter don't have a much brighter circumstance as part owner of the 28-37 New Jersey Nets. Vince-anity, formerly Air Canada, has not been able to drive the Nets back to playoff contention after being swept by the Lakers in 2001.

With their NBA teams currently playing for their paychecks, basketball fans in the Tri-state area would then look to college teams for some hope. On Selection Sunday 2009, the NCAA committee only selected three teams from the greater New York/New Jersey region!

Cornell, Siena, and Syracuse are the only teams from either New York or New Jersey that were selected to the NCAA Tournament. Out of those three teams, only Syracuse is a legitimate threat to do damage in the games and they aren't from anywhere close the Big Apple!

St. Johns and Hofstra are really the main college teams that New Yorkers follow, but both of them had disappointing years. The Red Storm finished their Big East season at 16-17 and Hofstra was not good enough at 21-11 to be invited to the "Big Dance". What has happened to basketball in the Big Apple!?

In New York City, basketball has been a way of life for many young children. Boys and girls grow up in circumstances where they either pick up a gun or a basketball! With space being limited, city courts are the most popular places for people to be on a summer day. Basketball keeps kids off the street and gives them hope about a future that doesn't involve jail time!

The Big Apple is home to some of the most famous courts in the world. Many people may think of Boston Garden or the Forum as being the "Mecca" of basketball in the United States, but anyone who enjoys a good, hard game of street ball knows different. Gun Hill, in the Bronx, and Rucker Park in Harlem are two of the most famous basketball venues in the United States.

Rucker Park, especially, has become a tourist attraction for professional basketball players as well as amateurs trying to make a name for themselves. The And1 Basketball Tour and the Entertainers Basketball Classic started with a group of guys playing basketball at Rucker Park. Some people would have to debate whether to attend a game at Rucker Park or at Madison Square Garden!

With so much history of basketball greatness in New York City, how is it possible that The Big Apple doesn't boast a better basketball scene? The Knicks, Nets, and Red Storm have all forgot what it means to play basketball in the greatest city, in the greatest country on earth. Millions of young boys and girls would give their lives to have that opportunity, and yet they are denied.

If anyone is planning on going to see a basketball game in New York City, you may want to skip The Garden and stop off at the local city park! You'll get to see a much better show for a much better price!