The old steel rim that presides over this public basketball court absorbs missed shots with an angry clank, sending the ball careening upward and the wood and metal backboard into a rickety seizure.
Two Cool Sports Stories In the New York Times with links here.
Like generations before them, the young men who play at the ramshackle court in St. Nicholas Park in Harlem know the rim is so troublesome that they tend to avoid perimeter jump shots in favor of aggressive drives to the basket, where perhaps its vagaries will be less pronounced.
“These are ghetto rims,” said Quaeshawn Berry, a lanky 14-year-old who is a regular at the park. “But I prefer these. I’ve been playing on these my whole life.”
These unforgiving, practically unbreakable orange rims — built so simply that there are no hooks to accommodate a net — are longstanding fixtures of the public basketball courts throughout New York City, where they play a minor, if usually overlooked, role in countless pick-up games.
But largely unknown to even the most devoted practitioners of the city game is that most of the basketball rims on these courts have been individually crafted by a team of blacksmiths who cut, weld and paint each by hand.