While Maryland sports fans tend to gather around the television to watch Orioles baseball or Ravens football, it is often forgotten that some of the greatest basketball players in the US got their start on the humble public courts in Baltimore. For basketball fans and aspiring players, picking up an informal game may be the best form of training, or just an enjoyable way to pass the afternoon. Whatever the case, if you’re looking for a good place to play, we suggest the following.
2529-2571 Druid Hill Ave.
Baltimore, Md. 21217
Sports fans will recognize the name Carmelo Anthony. He plays for the New York Knicks and has won a gold medal twice as a member of the U.S.A. National team in the Olympics.
What many people will not know is that Carmelo grew up shooting hoops on the court at Cloverdale Park in Baltimore. Since he rose to fame, Carmelo still returns occasionally to the court at which his career began in order to host charity events.
Now you may get a chance to get a firsthand experience at the park that launched the career of such a renowned player.
The park looks nice, too. Outfitted with aluminum bleachers and lights for night games, The Baltimore Sun has named Cloverdale “…one of the nicest outdoor courts in the city.”
The Dome hosts a number of leagues during the summer, including – most notably – Midnight Madness. Come out Monday or Wednesday nights from 10 p.m. to midnight and watch some of the best basketball skills from the East Coast on display.
The Dome has been the starting point that launched the careers of dozens of renowned basketball players such as Muggsy Bogues and Reggie Lewis.
USA Today Sports raves about The Dome saying, “The Dome is a staple of the city. Like Rucker Park to New York. And everybody comes out for the games. The men, the women, the children and even the dogs and cats. Every young kid who balls in the city dreams of playing at the Dome. They come from all areas of Baltimore – E.A., Preston and Bond, Monument Street, Ashland Ave, Deakyland, Greenmount Ave and Lafayette projects – to try and compete with the city’s finest.”
200 S. Linwood Ave.
Baltimore, Md. 21224
www.pattersonpark.comPatterson Park is a beautiful venue with paths, gardens, pools and a variety of sports arenas. The park boasts a total of five basketball courts in three different dimensions, one being a half-court.
Since Paterson Park is such a popular location, the courts are always in high demand. The Park’s policy is first-come, first-served, so anyone interested in reserving a court should contact the park well in advance.
But reserving a court is well worth it. Patterson takes pains to maintain its courts. Not only is the court professional and enjoyable, but it is a beautiful location to play.
Riderwood Hills Park
986 Kenilworth Drive
Towson, Md. 21204
Nestled in the scenic Riderwood Hills Park, the basketball court of the same name is a public venue with one multipurpose court, so play time is at a premium. Open year round, from sunrise to sunset, players will enjoy the clean and scenic surroundings which include convenient restrooms.
Riderwood also has a baseball diamond and playground, so committed athletes who are also parents may rest assured that their children will have fun while they play.
Back River Center
801 Back River Neck Road
Essex, Md. 21221
www.baltimorecountymd.gov/backriverBack River Center is free to the public and has a single full court. Located in the scenic Essex area, the center is open year round, so those committed to improving their game may practice in the winter as well as the summer. The center also includes a playground for the kids, a picnic area for before or after your game and convenient restrooms. There are also ball fields and horseshoe pits for those looking to branch out into other sports.
Related: Best Sports Camps
Joel Furches is a freelance writer and researcher for The Examiner and Logos Software, and also manages his own catalog of writing on Hub Pages. Joel is on the board of directors for Ratio Christi. He has a bachelors in Psychology and a Masters in Education.