You don’t have to win a contest or buy a pricey ticket. Just hustle out to any of the half-dozen streetball tournaments now taking place throughout New York City.
The action on the asphalt has been as hot as this week's heat wave and we’ve got you covered with information on the top tournaments in the five boroughs where NBA stars like Durant and World Peace have been known to turn up.
Dyckman Basketball Tournament
Location: Monsignor Kett Playground (204th Street and Nagle Avenue)
Season: Runs through Aug. 16
Days/times: Monday to Friday doubleheaders, 7 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.
Twitter feed: @IamDyckman
Pro Watch: NBA stars who have visited: Lance Stephenson (Indiana Pacers), J.R. Smith (Knicks), Kemba Walker (Charlotte Bobcats), Metta World Peace (Knicks), Iman Shumpert (Knicks), Tyshawn Taylor (Nets), Michael Beasley (Phoenix Suns), Baron Davis (former New York Knick), DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors), Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder), Tyreke Evans (New Orleans Pelicans), Francisco Garcia (Houston Rockets), J.J. Hickson (Denver Nuggets), Brandon Jennings (Milwaukee Bucks), Anthony Morrow (New Orleans Pelicans), Charlie Villanueva (Detroit Pistons).
From its humble beginnings in 1990 when the tournament had just six teams, Dyckman has grown to include 52 teams in four age groups. The NCAA-sanctioned tournament, which draws up to 1,600 fans each night, has become one of the most anticipated summer basketball events in the tri-state area.
Nike Pro City
Location: Baruch College (East 24th Street and Lexington Ave.)
Season: Runs through Aug. 8
Days/times: Tuesday and Thursday doubleheaders, 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
Twitter feed: @Procitynyc
Pro Watch: NBA stars who have visited: Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder), Roy Hibbert (Indiana Pacers), Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers), Metta World Peace (Knicks), Michael Beasley (Phoenix Suns), Brandon Jennings (Milwaukee Bucks), John Lucas III (Toronto Raptors), MarShon Brooks (Celtics), Taj Gibson (Chicago Bulls), Devin Ebanks (Los Angeles Lakers), Charlie Villanueva (Detroit Pistons), Ben Gordon (Charlotte Bobcats), Nate Robinson (Chicago Bulls), Elton Brand (Atlanta Hawks), Mike Dunleavy (Chicago Bulls), Sebastian Telfair (Toronto Raptors), Donte Greene (Memphis Grizzlies), Jason Richardson (Philadelphia 76ers), Richard Jefferson (Golden State Warriors), Samuel Dalembert (Dallas Mavericks), Tobias Harris (Orlando Magic), Danny Green (San Antonio Spurs).
In its 17th season, Nike Pro City features professional players from the NBA and overseas. Four years ago, the tournament moved from Hunter College to Baruch and the games, which are free of charge, are played twice weekly.
Entertainer's Basketball Classic at Rucker Park
Location: West 155th Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard
Season: Runs through Aug. 15
Days/times: Mondays and Thursdays at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. On Fridays the high school division plays. Thursdays are Reebok Classic Throwback days and rap legends such as CL Smooth make appearances.
Twitter feed: @EBCRuckerPark
Pro Watch: Durant famously dropped 60 at Rucker a couple years ago. Tournament founder and CEO Greg Marius said NBA players keep their appearance secret until the last minute.
This year, the Charlotte Bobcat's Kemba Walker has already made an appearance. Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers is expected to come out along with a few New York Knicks, Marius said. If you're lucky, you can sometimes catch celebrities at the games. Rappers Rick Ross and Nas both have teams. Expect a beefed-up security presence after an unusual shooting at the park last year.
This year, players can perform like pros thanks to the new hardwood courts. This will be the first summer with a full season of match-ups on the hardwood, which were used only two weeks last summer.
"Now all the players want to play on the court," Marius said. "And the community can use it on weekends."
West 4th Street Basketball League
Location: West 4th Street and Sixth Avenue
Season: Runs through Aug. 17
Days/times: Monday to Friday: High school games at 4:30 p.m., and men's games at 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday: Women's games at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m.,1 p.m., and sometimes at 3 p.m.; men's games at 3 p.m., 4:30 p.m., and 6 p.m. There are also women's games at a court on Houston Street and Sixth Avenue from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
Pro Watch: It's the 36-year-old league's location on busy West 4th Street that makes The Cage such a popular destination, according to Kenny Graham, who founded and runs the West Fourth Street Cage.
"People come to Greenwich Village to eat and shop and they get to see some New York City-style streetball," Graham said.
Metta World Peace and retired NBA players Rod Strickland and Anthony Mason have all played at the park. Graham said you never know which pro players are going to add star power to the teams' open rosters, but he's hoping rumors that the Indiana Pacers' Lance Stephenson plans to stop by are true.
Graham touts his league as one of the most diverse in the city because it's open to all players. It's also free to watch.
"We encourage people to come out and watch at the cage. We urge people to take pictures and post those of your favorite players," Graham said.