Jacob Benison, Reportorial Illustration, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 17 July 2005.

The illustration above recreates what a typical afternoon at Sarasota's Newtown Recreational Center, the Rec, would have looked like in the 1970s. Street-ballers sat in the shade on the west side of the court waiting to test their mettle against local heroes, while onlookers gathered to check out the action.

The backboards were wooden, the nets were chain links and the drinking fountain was always clogged with dirt.

Street-ball wizards built their legends there. Construction workers played there, too, and often in steel-toed boots. Even NBA players showed up at the place where paramedics were called more often than fouls.

It was simply an outdoor basketball court surrounded by pine trees on 34th Street, but once you reached it, once you touched it, once you survived it, your life could change forever.

β€œIt was almost like a sacred ground,” Derrick Kirce said.

For 27 years, and probably longer, the hub of Sarasota playground basketball was the Newtown Recreation Center, or the Rec, as it was known.

Chris Anderson, Sarasota Herald-Tribune

17 July 2005

The background in this private family photo shows the legendary basketball court on a quiet day in May of 1971.
The green outline on this satellite image shows the location of the original outdoor basketball court. In 1975, an indoor gym was built over it.
This perspectice drawing shows a vantage point just above the west side of the court where crowds gathered to watch their favorite players.
A preliminary pencil sketch similar the final composition.


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