My personal “Basketball Jones”

It’s the time of year that Kansas City becomes a basketball mecca. NAIA, Big 12 Tourney, First and second rounds of NCAA’s March Madness.My parents loved basketball. They always took us out of school to attend the NAIA tournament, complete with our own brackets to complete and hot dogs for breakfast. My brother and I would play basketball in the Ozarks on dirt courts in the summers (beware of a bad pass – the ball would careen down the hill into the “snake pit.”) Dad would coach our teams in the winter. My brother went on to play college ball at Pittsburg State. I played from fourth grade through my sophomore year (with a pitiful career total of 4 points, I was awful, but tall.)

A few years ago — on the opening day of March Madness — I spread my parents ashes at their favorite fishing spot in the Ozarks. Driving home, I started to really notice all of the basketball hoops on the back roads. Nailed to barns, telephone poles, over garage doors, on the sides of small businesses. So, I began to hop out and shoot them as I traveled all over the country.  Pretty soon I had hundreds of photos. Perhaps a book.

(Time for a little shameless self-promotion …) Eventually, I approached The Kansas City Star Books, and they agreed to publish my book, Home Court Advantage.

“I am sure that no man can derive more pleasure from money or power than I do from seeing a pair of basketball goals in some out of the way place—deep in the Wisconsin woods an old barrel hoop nailed to a tree, or a weather-beaten shed on the Mexican border with a rusty iron hoop nailed to one end.”

— Dr. James Naismith

Home Court Advantage captures basketball’s simple beauty through photographs of America’s countryside courts by photographer/designer Kelly Ludwig and passages from some of the game’s greatest names. Introduction by Blair Kerkhoff, sports editor for the Kansas City Star.

Buy the book

(This is for you Mom, Dad and Kev. Rock chalk!)