Ah, March, the time of year when lovers of college basketball go absolutely wild, clutching their brackets in their hands 24/7 hoping they’ve predicted correctly who the Sweet 16 and Final Four will be. If springtime basketball fever infects your kids, why not bring them to see a game in person, or sign them up for a team? We in the Southland are fortunate to have ample opportunities to watch or play. While many of the youth basketball leagues offered by local parks are already in full swing, there are still places for your budding hoops star to get some action.
Ball Up Streetball
Matadome at CSUN
18111 Nordhoff Street,
Northridge, California 91330
One Feb. 27, the street basketball experience Ball-Up arrived at California State University Northridge in the San Fernando Valley and will be here through July 29. Admission is free! Over the next several months, be treated to an amazing basketball performance reminiscent of the amazing street basketball moves you see on neighborhood courts across the country. You don’t see dunks, passes and tricks like these in the NBA. The next game is April 3, at 5 p.m. Get ready for some heart-thumping fun. (Ball Up recently merged with And1 – a similar streetball organization.)
1111 South Figueroa
Los Angeles, CA 90015
If streetball is too edgy for you, L.A. is blessed to be a two-NBA-team city (rumors are a 3rd could go to Orange County). And while the season is nearly over, there’s still time to get in on the action and see the Lakers and the Clippers play. The closer it gets to the end of the season, the harder the tickets are to come by (particularly for the Lakers who are likely playoff-bound) so check their schedules now. And for Clippers games you can get discounted tickets (half price in some cases!) via Goldstar Events. Just register online at Goldstar.com.
Y West Healthy Lifestyle Center
2045 W. Ball Road, Anaheim, CA 92804
Hollywood Wilshire YMCA
1533 N. Schrader Blvd.
Hollywood, CA 90028
Highland Family YMCA
7793 Central Avenue
Highland, CA 92346
(909) 425-YMCA (9622)
In 1891 James Naismith – then a P.E. instructor at a Y.M.C.A. – invented basketball. That explains why the YMCA offers such a robust basketball program. Kids ages 3-17 can enroll in Spring Basketball and will learn the rules, moves, teamwork and more that make basketball such an enjoyable sport. Each week, for 10 weeks, your child will practice one weekday and play against another team on the weekend. And they’ll receive a team jersey and trophy, all for less than $100 if you’re a member; not much more if you’re not. Basketball availability, dates and cost vary by location; check your local Y for details. And you can check YMCA.org to find other Y locations near you.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 394-2582 (CLUB)
Boys & Girls Clubs are known for their fairly competitive youth basketball programs, and the Santa Monica club is no exception. From March 21 – April 11, they are enrolling kids ages 13-18 to play throughout the Spring in the Intermediate/Senior League. The program will include one weekly practice and 1-2 games a week. The facility features an indoor gym, as well as 7 outdoor courts with professional hoops recently donated by the LeBron James Family Foundation. And the Club’s coaching staff and volunteer coaches have decades of experience in coaching basketball at all levels. You can’t beat the cost; just the $20 annual membership fee asked of all Club members.
Any1Hungry Basketball Academy
6550 W 80th Street
Westchester CA 90045
If your children are a little more athletic –- or you if you want them to be –- this LA-area basketball program might be right for you. This is a year-round basketball academy for kids ages 6-18, that offers a variety of options including weekly training lessons, tournament team play, league games and summer camps, as well as one-on-one training. The coaches are experienced at playing and coaching at the high school, collegiate and professional level and strive to make kids the best players they can be,while teaching them teamwork and discipline. The cost is 125/month. Scholarships are available.