Hoops Nation


Hoops Nation

A Guide to America's Best Pickup Basketball

Chris Ballard
Introduction by Clark Kellogg
Foreword by Chuck Wielgus and Alexander Wolff

367 pages
82 photographs, 16 illustrations, 11 maps, index of courts, index of hoops culture


October 2004


$21.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Looking for a game? Here's your guided tour of the country's best pickup basketball courts, from the blacktops of Brooklyn to the asphalt of Anchorage to the gyms of Jackson, Mississippi. It's all inside: where the pros play, the most scenic runs in the land, and a ranking of the top five courts.
Chris Ballard and three other former college players piled into a used Chevy van and traveled thirty-one thousand miles in seven months, playing at over a thousand courts in 166 cities in forty-eight states. This is the story of their roundball road trip and a guide to the places, people, and communities they encountered.
More than a travel guide, Hoops Nation is "a celebration of the game of basketball as it is played in America." It includes guides to streetball fashion, the lingo of the courts, the etiquette of the pickup world, the tricks of old-guy basketball, and tips for the dunking impaired. Also included are profiles of playground legends and dispatches from the legions of basketball lifers who populate the country's courts.
This book can tell you where they’re running today, all over America. Who’s got next?

Author Bio

Chris Ballard is a staff writer covering the NBA for Sports Illustrated and is a frequent contributor to the New York Times Magazine. Clark Kellogg is a CBS basketball commentator and former NBA star. Chuck Wielgus and Alexander Wolff are the authors of The In-Your-Face Basketball Book.


"Not only a reference for aspiring pickup hoopsters, but also a loving tribute to a unique part of contemporary sports culture."—Booklist

"Engaging and informative, funny as Muggsy dunking on Shaq. . . . Chris Ballard got game."—Vibe

"A travelogue worthy of frequent rereading and a guidebook no hoopaholic should leave home without."—Philadelphia Inquirer

“The ultimate guide to nationwide pickup games, from the playgrounds of the pros to the courts of high school shorties.”—NBA Inside Stuff magazine

“A handy and entertaining guide to blacktops and backboards from sea to shining sea. Even if you don’t dare venture beyond your backyard, Mr. Ballard’s book will make you wish you could.”—Washington Times

“A comprehensive look at basketball courts across the country, with all sorts of inside dope and practical advice.”—Chicago Tribune

“An entertaining riff on the culture, history, and mythology of pickup basketball.”—Men’s Fitness

“Excellent. . . . a savvy guide to universal characters and court demographics. Whether you’re partial to hardwood floors or suncracked slabs, Hoops Nation has a court for you.”—P.O.V. Magazine


Named one of Booklist’s “Top 10 Sports Books” in 1998

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