Summer may be done, but the local blacktop courts are still dry and they are calling. So, which courts are best for you to drop your skillz on? In our little survey here you’ll see that the neighborhood park courts outshine their elementary school/junior high counterparts, but each has its strengths and weaknesses, so before you strap on the knee brace, here’s some crucial knowledge on six of the most popular spots in Chico for pickup games.
The standards Court surface: Whether it’s due to built-in drainage or just cracking and settling, blacktop courts are notoriously uneven. A funky surface will not only throw off the surest of shots, but it will also tweak even the most tightly wrapped ankles.
Rims: Double rims (two metal hoops welded together) are the devil, but since they last forever they’re everywhere. Shooting from outside or inside, the action on double rim is very unforgiving, and not even Bill Russell could guess where the rebound is headed. For the kindest roll, single rims are best.
Nets: Gotta have ’em.
Backboards: Again, it’s all about the action. Though it’s mostly the jump shooter who’s affected, a metal backboard is the worst. A thick metal backboard attached to the typical giant metal pole in the ground does not give at all, and that painful-sounding “kong!” is the sound of the basketball gods saying, “Get that junk out of my face!” Oh, and there’s also the five-minute aftershock that follows—try making a shot outside of 2 inches into a circle of vibrating metal. Wood (painted, or plastic-coated) and fiberglass have enough give to be forgiving, and have the most natural action. Thin metal (like at Oak Way Park) can be decent too.