Best Basketball Court - 2007
Bobby banks in an eighteen-foot jumper over J-Rod's outstretched hand. "You can't stop me!" Bobby taunts. The nineteen-year-olds have been going at it, one-on-one, for the past 35 minutes on the asphalt court closest to the train tracks. They have come out here every other day, around the same time, 4:30 p.m., playing with the same beat-up basketball with pieces of leather torn off its hide, for the past two years. "Out here, your ass is mine, chico!" Bobby razzes. They aren't the only playground ballers who make playing at Eaton Park, right across from the Lemon City library on 61st Street and NE Fourth Avenue, a ritual. Young men from all over Little Haiti and the surrounding area come here to polish their ball-handling and shooting skills. Gray clouds fill the sky, casting a cool shadow over Eaton Park a welcome relief for the eight teenage boys playing a half-court game on the second court. A train horn wails in the distance. The ground underneath the basket begins to rumble. Soon a freight locomotive bound for the Hialeah rail yard roars by. The boys sitting on top of a fallen wood light pole stare as the immense diesel-power steel serpent goes past. Even the teens showing off their hops stop their match. Then a homeless man wearing a brown cowboy hat and a red Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls jersey tucked into his khakis rides a bicycle around the court's perimeter. As he does this, he smiles, rings the bike's bell, and waves at everyone.