Possibly the coolest basketball experience I’ve ever had… The gym at Masaryk Towers, a low-income high-rise apartment in New York City’s Lower East Side, was recently renovated into an up-to-date basketball training facility. All of this thanks to Nike Basketball. I and 9 of my Tuesday night cohorts were lucky enough to participate in an opening orientation a couple of days ago. First we were greeted by the concierge (super cutie with all red dunks) who explained all the services provided, which includes access to the gym 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We then met with Nike brand reps who explained the intention and purpose of the gym. The facility is open to a select group of pros and New Yorkers, offering a full complement of uniforms, shooting machines and trainers to sharpen skills. This winter training facility (which will be turned over to the public in April) is to help athletes get ready for the all important NYC summer season, from Pro City to West 4th to the world famous Rucker Park. BBC here I come.

I’ve never been treated like a pro but then came the locker room. Where waiting for me was my very own locker with a complementary pair of Kobe VII in my size, practice unis, socks, a Nike gym bag, towel and Gatorade. Overwhelmed to say the least. Once I geared up I proceeded to the court where we went through a warm-up, training session and shooting drills with Nike trainers. It fondly reminded me of after school practice, I miss those days. Once we got our sweat on and tired ourselves out, we were handed over the court for a couple of runs.

Thanks to my peoples at Slam Magazine and those at The Masaryk Gym.

Apologies for the underwhelming photos, I couldn’t get my hands to stop shaking from all of the excitement.

For love of the game, right…