Photo courtesy of Dave’s Joint.
By David Cordova
During the summertime, when school is out and the weather is hot, one place that the general public loves to be at is the park. One place where gatherings are held are at the basketball courts. Another thing that the basketball courts have is tournaments, which are usually something worth watching.
For those outside of the tri-state area, traveling into New York City, the interest to see or compete in high-level tournaments in the city is always high. It’s the chance to see the premier high school talent throughout the area, and some on the national level and also to see the best college players from the local schools in the tri-state area, or the overseas pros and occasionally, NBA players.
Therefore, here is our list of tournaments and events to watch in New York City and surrounding areas, for the summer of 2022:
Dyckman Basketball Tournament
Monsignor Kett Playground, Inwood
Since 1990, the tournament has been a marquee attraction in the area. Nicknamed the “Red Carpet of Streetball,” it is a haven for many of the city’s best to come on the asphalt to compete. It is a place that has been revered by celebrities and even NBA players. The commentary on the mic of David “Cha-Ching” Teele and the mastery of DJ Zookeeper is definitely something worthy of a club outing and a concert all rolled into one. Aside from the college/pro-am division, the high school division is one of the best in the city, as elite talent from the tri-state area always come out to play. Whenever you’re riding the 1 train to Manhattan or into Riverdale, you’re likely to see a crowded park on the weeknights. If you’re not able to see the games in person, the games are streamed on the ClshTV app.
Sneaker Affiliation: Jordan Brand
West 4th Street
West Fourth Street Courts, Greenwich Village
A legendary court known as “The Cage,” West 4th has been one of the city’s premier places to play since 1977. The college/pro-am division is always competitive and you must be strong to play what is a very small court. The high school division is also as competitive as the college/pro-am division as it is a place to show grit and tenacity in order to win. The commentary on the mic by Worthy, the longtime emcee, is one for the ages.
Sneaker Affiliation: Nike
Sara D. Roosevelt Park, Lower East Side
With over 10 years of existence, the LES Express is haven for many players from all of the boroughs to come hoop in the pro-am division.. On the weekends, it is one of the best places to catch a game, especially with the commentary of Kyleek “Smoove Ky” Alford on the mic. The teams in their pro-am division include TMT/Showstoppers, Brooklyn Stompers, Usual Suspects, Ocean 11 and more.
Dr. Martin Luther King Towers, Harlem
A neighborhood staple in the King Towers since the early 1980’s, the Kingdome has had many NBA pros from as far back as the late Dwayne “Pearl” Washington, Walter Berry, Ed Pinckney, Rafer “Skip To My Lou” Alston and Metta World Peace to name a few. Now, after some years of being in obscurity, the tournament is back and is a place that is filled to capacity on the weekends, especially when the rapper Jim Jones’ team, Team Fit Lit plays on Sunday nights. Their pro-am is filled with many of Harlem’s finest streetball players and on a nightly basis has emcee Rell Jones, also known as “Voice of My City,” dazzling the crowd with his commentary on the mic.
Positive Influence Classic
Samuel M. Bennerson Playground, Upper West Side
A good place to see some high school talent and college division talent in the NYCHA Amsterdam Houses across the street from the prestigious Lincoln Center on West 64th Street between Amsterdam Avenue and West End Avenue.
Col. Charles Young Playground, Harlem
When you get off the 3 train or the BX 19 BUS on 145th Street and Lenox Avenue, you will see a park where there’s plenty of quality middle-school and high school games. Founded by veteran streetball coach Antoinio “Mousey” Carela in 2006, the court nicknamed “Black Square Garden,” has seen many great games throughout the years. Something to see during the week is the new “Why Not Wednesdays?”, in which the premier high school talent throughout the tri-state comes through to ball out.
Sneaker Affiliation: Jordan Brand
Rucker Park Streetball
Holcombe Rucker Memorial Playground, Harlem
A tournament on the hallowed grounds of the world-famous Rucker Park on 155th Street and 8th Avenue, the Rucker Park Steetball tournament, formerly known as the Entertainer’s Basketball Classic, provides plenty of great action in the college/pro division and the high school division. And if that’s not enough, you get the commentary of the duo of Rell Jones, better known as “Voice of My City,” and Larry “Mic Larry” Agee on the mic.
Sneaker Affiliation: Adidas
Raoul Wallenberg Playground, Washington Heights
One of Manhattan’s best tournaments for their pro-am scene, the UBA tournament brings out plenty of excitement and great action on a daily basis from 5-8 PM during the weekdays. It is a sight to see in the Heights as large crowds come through to see the games and it is standing-room only.
Watson Basketball Classic
Parque de Los Ninos Playground, Soundview
Founded in 1999, the Watson Classic, nicknamed “Watty” by many, is a tournament that many in The Bronx love to frequent for good comp or just to watch a good game. There’s good music, good action, and it is just off the 6 train at the Morrison-Soundview Avenue station and the BX 27 bus.
Sneaker Affiliation: Nike
Hoops in the Sun Classic
Founded in 1999 by the late Joe “Pops” Cruz, Sr., HITS, as it is commonly referred to, is a legendary tournament where many pros have come out to ball under the sun, and it is a place where middle schoolers and high schoolers come to catch wreck on the asphalt. Every Saturday and Sunday, take that BX 12 bus to the last stop to have a good time and check out the action on the beach. If you can’t see the games in person, you can catch the action on the ClshTV app.
Rod Strickland/Kyrie Irving Tournament
St. Mary’s Park, Mott Haven
A proving ground for many of the premier elementary school and middle school players, the tournament named after former NBA player and current LIU Brooklyn head coach, Rod Strickland and his godson, seven-time NBA All-Star and Brooklyn Nets point guard, Kyrie Irving, is a place to see some of the best talent before they head to high school on the weekends.
Grenada BTW Classic
Edenwald Houses, Baychester
A staple in the Edenwald Houses in the North Bronx, the Grenada BTW (Built to Win) Classic is a battleground for players to make their presence felt on the court. It’s a spot that is definitely a must-see for games.
Nike Pro City
Hostos Community College, Mott Haven
A staple of the city since 1995, Pro City is Nike’s premier summer league where pros from overseas and the NBA and some college stars from NYC’s seven Division I schools can come to compete on the hardwood court of the Caimans for the chance at a championship come August. Unlike most tournaments, this one only has eight teams, which means that every Monday and Wednesday, it’s a competition to see who will be the last team standing. The duo of DJ Authorize and emcee Joe Pope provide plenty of entertainment during the games. Also, it is also a common meeting ground in terms of transportation, as the 2, 4 and 5 trains are right outside of the campus at the 149th Street-Grand Concourse station, as well as the BX 1, 2 and 19 buses. And if you’re coming from Westchester or the Hudson Valley, there is also the Hudson Line train a few blocks on 153rd Street & River Avenue.
Top of the Hill Classic
Sack Wern Houses, Soundview
Another local tournament that has risen within the last couple of years, TOH, as it is commonly known, is a great tournament where some of the city’s premier talent in middle school and high school come to play. Although it is a small court surrounded by fences, it is something worth watching. It also bears the name of a famous Soundview resident, in four-time NBA All-Star & Detroit Pistons guard, Kemba Walker, who had the court refurbished years ago during his time with Under Armour. If you’re riding the BX 27 bus, make a stop over to TOH.
Riverdale Summer League
Sputyen Duyvil Playground, Riverdale
A summer league founded by Artie Cox just a couple of years ago, this tournament features some of the elite qand under-the-radar high school programs in the tri-state area, such as Mount Vernon, St. Raymond, Christ the King, Stevenson, Monsignor McClancy and more.
Marble Hill Classic
Marble Hill Houses
A tournament that caters mainly to teams from The Bronx and other areas, the Marble Hill Classic is a good spot for high school and college/pro-amn action.
Gun Hill Basketball Classic
Gun Hill Playground, Williamsbridge
A legendary tournament in the North Bronx that has been around for many years, it is a spot where there is plenty of grit and grind on the asphalt. There are four divisions (12U, 14U, 16U, 19U and Men’s Division). You can always see the action when you’re coming to or leaving the Gun Hill Road station on the 2 train line.
Highbridge Summer Classic
Merriam Playground, Highbridge
In the heart of the Highbridge section of The Bronx, which falls between Yankee Stadium and the George Washington Bridge, this tournament is a go-to for kids in the neighborhood and other areas in The Bronx, as the action is top-notch. When riding on the BX 11 and BX 13 buses, respectively, you can see the action unfolding.
Gershwin Park, East New York
As the premier pro-am in the borough of Brooklyn, the action at Gersh is top-notch, as their pro-am games are filled with tough matchups. Gersh isn’t for the weak, only the strong survive in those cages. Their high school division isn’t too shabby either. Teams such as ADC, NRNW, Sean Bell, SOG and the Brooklyn Stompers have long been the teams to watch and always come to play. If you can’t see the games in person, you can always see them on either the Clsh TV app or on the YES Network.
Sneaker Affiliation: Nike/Jordan Brand
Conrad McRae Youth League
Dean Playground, Park Slope
Founded in 2000, this summer league is a haven for the youth, as they attract the best on the middle school scene and on the high school scene, the best boys high school programs and girls AAU programs once the NCAA Live Period ends. Although the courts are small and there’s no out of bounds line, this tournament is a battleground and requires plenty of toughness.
Sneaker Affiliation: Jordan Brand
Tillary Playground, Downtown Brooklyn
A major staple in the borough of Brooklyn since the 2000’s, many of the city’s best AAU programs come to play here during the summertime. In August, there is also a high school classic, which is filled with many of the best high school programs in the borough, such as Westinghouse, Banneker, Brooklyn Law & Tech, Bedford Academy and more, as well as Staten Island’s own Curtis.
Zone 6 Classic
256 Park, Bedford-Stuyvesant
One of the fastest-rising tournaments in the city, Zone 6 is known as an event in which the community comes out in the summertime to check out great games and see some great action. Their pro-am division includes squads such as the X-Men, ADC, the Tank All-Stars and more.
Breevort Basketball League
Breevort Houses, Bedford-Stuyvesant
During the week, this tournament has plenty of top-notch talent coming through its gates to play on the asphalt that produced former UNLV standout Trevor Diggs. High school programs in this league include Xaverian and the defending PSAL champions, South Shore, two powerhouses from the borough of Brooklyn,
Isaiah Whitehead Basketball Tournament
Surfside Gardens Houses, Coney Island
A tournament founded by former NBA player and current overseas pro Isaiah Whitehead, it has become one of the premier places to play in the city. When one sees Coney Island, they think of the boardwalk, the rides, the beach and even the Nathan’s hot dog stand. But on 25th Street & Mermaid Avenue, there is a league that features some top-notch high school and college pro-am division talent. In the pro-am division, there are mainstays such as ADC, S.O.G, Sean Bell All-Stars and the Brooklyn Stompers.
Canarsie Flossy Basketball League
Seaview Park, Canarsie
On the weekends, the Flossy Basketball League is a tournament that caters to many players in the borough of Brooklyn, especially in the Canarsie section. From late June to mid-August, it is a showcase for high school and college-aged players to do battle on the asphalt.
Wingate Park, Lefferts Gardens
Just last year, after a 10-year hiatus, Dunker’s Delight returned and picked up where it left off as one of Brooklyn’s main staples. Known as “The Cage Full of Warriors,” it has the pro-am, a boys high school division, a girls high school division and a middle school division.
Rose Pro Classic
The Post BK, Greenpoint
A place for the ladies to do battle after a winter overseas or on the college level, the Rose Pro Classic has plenty of competition on Fridays and Sundays. There are teams such as Team Footprintz, OTF, Hoop Dreams, Big East Ballers, Team Watson, No Limit Munch and more. On the mic famed emcee Joe Pope, with DJ Authorize on the turntables.
Lincoln Park Classic
Lincoln Park-Judge Playground, South Ozone Park
The premier summer tournament in the borough of Queens, Lincoln Park is the go-to for many of the tri-state area’s finest parks. The crowds at this park come in droves for the big games and there is plenty of excitement in the park. On hot summer nights, the place they call, “Jurassic Park,” is the place to be.
Sneaker Affiliation: Nike
More Than A Game Classic
Archie Spigner Park, St. Albans
Founded in 2012, this league is one of the go-to’s in one of the largest boroughs in New York City. During the summer time, this summer league in Southeast Queens has plenty of the top talent in Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island. Many of the teams feature squads that are comprised of talent from schools such as Brooklyn Law & Tech, Cardozo, St. Francis Prep, Elmont, Chaminade, Robeson and more.
B.A.C.E Summer Classic
Roy Wilkins Park, Jamaica
This summer league is another that is filled with plenty of action and has teams such as Dozo, PD Nation, Team Underrated, Elmcor, August Martin, Bayside and Almighty Force to name a few.
Under The Lights
General Douglas MacArthur Park, Dongan Hills
Normally known as the “Forgotten Borough,” Staten Island has one place where they can showcase their talents. UTL is the place where the borough’s best come to show out, especially in the pro-am division.
Ferris Ave World Basketball Classic
Gardella Park, White Plains
Known as a league that has been a mainstay in Westchester County in the 1980’s, the Ferris Ave. League has many of Westchester’s best from towns such as White Plains, Tarrytown and Yonkers. Even players from New York City come up to ball. If one wants to come watch, it is a 12-minute walk from the White Plains Transit Center and the Metro North Railroad station.
The Gallery Basketball League
Nepperhan Community Center, Yonkers
Located near Getty Square on Warburton Avenue, the Gallery League was once a league that had many of the best young talent in Westchester and places in the city like The Bronx, Harlem and Brooklyn come to play. Now after a hiatus of several years, the league will return on July 11th, revamped and ready to go. There will be a middle school division, a high school division and a college division.
The Fieldhouse, East Massapequa
This pro-am has plenty of good action, as many of Long Island’s best come to do battle on the floor. This league has a pro-am and high school division.
Bolden Mack Park
Bolden Mack Park, Amityville
Nicknamed “The Mack,” this league has been a mainstay for the past few years and has brought out some of the best such as New York City legend and former New York Mr. Basketball award winner Isaiah Washington and Brentwood native Lester Quinones, who is now playing in the NBA Summer League for the Golden State Warriors. There are plenty of divisions in this league, including a 40 & Over division. In the pro-am division, there are some big-time teams, including Gwinin’ Team, named for radio personality DJ Self.
Hamilton Park Summer League
Hamilton Park, Jersey City
A popular tournament in Hudson County, year in & year out, the Hamilton Park Summer League has a haven for competition amongst high school teams as they get ready for their high school season. In this league are teams such as Hudson Catholic, The Patrick School, St. Peter’s Prep, Curtis (Staten Island) and St. John Vianney, to name a few.
Stay Hungry Sports Stop The Violence Summer League
Bader Field, Atlantic City
A top-tier summer league that boasts some of the best from all of New Jersey and Philadelphia as it has a lot good action that happens on the asphalt in one of America’s most festive cities. The top-notch action on the court lets you know that Atlantic City is not about just the Boardwalk and the casinos.
Brotherly Love Basketball Pro-Am
KROC Center, Camden
This summer league has been one of the best in the tri-state area for a couple of years now, as it attracts some of the top players in Philadelphia and South Jersey. Last summer on their opening day, they had a duel between two former NBA players in Lance Stephenson and Tyreke Evans. Now in its third summer of existence, things will get even better. For those that cannot see the action in person, the games will be livestreamed on thesportsfanbasenetwork.com.
Events To Watch
NY vs. NY
Now in its fourth summer, NY vs. NY has been one of the hottest events during the summer. All six Nike-sponsored tournaments (Dyckman, West 4th Street, Tri-State, Gersh Park, Watson and Lincoln Park) all are competing for the right to make the championship game, which will take place on Saturday, August 13th at Rucker Park in Harlem. The event has gone through its first two weeks in June at both Watson and Dyckman, respectively, and will now continue this week in East New York, Brooklyn, which is the home of Gersh Park for Week 3 this Tuesday. The remaining dates will also be July 26th (Col. Charles Young Playground/Tri-State Classic), the final regular season date, and then the playoffs will start at Lincoln Park in South Ozone Park, Queens on August 2nd, with the semifinals being at Achievement First High School in Crown Heights, Brooklyn on August 9th. For the girls, the league will start on Saturday, August 6th in Harlem at Dunlevy Milbank Center, as it will lead to the championship game on August 13th, also at Rucker Park.
NYC Prospects High School League
Since last year, NYC Prospects has been one of the vehicles that has helped many youth in New York City as far as competition. This summer, in two separate sessions (July 30-31 & August 19-21), some of NYC’s best programs will be ready to ball out. On hand will be teams such as Lincoln, Eagle Academy I, Bedford Academy, Brooklyn Law & Tech, St. Joseph’s by The Sea, St.John’s Prep & more.
On July 30th, the Hoops Showdown will return for another summer, as it will host four high school teams on the asphalt, as they will compete for the chance at a trophy. It will all be going down at Parque de Los Ninos Playground in the Soundview section of The Bronx.
City is Mine Basketball Classic
Created in 2017 by 10-time NBA All-Star Carmelo Anthony and Bernard Bowen, this event has been a must-see event through the end of the summer. This summer, things will be a little different, as three other cities have been added, with the winners of each being invited to play in the championship game on August 27th at Hostos Community College. So far, the tour has touched down in Chicago (June 4th), with the Mac Irvin Fire representing their city. The other stops will be in Philadelphia (August 6th), Baltimore (August 7th) and New York City (August 12th) and when all is said & done, each site will have one winner representing them at the end of the summer, ready to win it all.