Mosswood's four basketball hoops don't comprise the East Bay's nicest or most well-kept courts — there are cracks in the pavement, stickers on the backboards, and the rims don't always have nets. But whatever Mosswood lacks in aesthetic appeal it more than makes up for in historical value and basketball bona fides. Generations of Bay Area ballers cut their teeth here, including Gary Payton and Jason Kidd, who used the park's gritty pickup games to develop the toughness and skill that would make them NBA All-Stars. Street-ball legend Demetrius "Hook" Mitchell is said to have jumped over an automobile here some twenty years ago to win an outdoor dunk contest. Mosswood's prodigious reputation even earned the North Oakland courts a prominent spot in EA Sports' popular 2003 video game, NBA Street Vol. 2. While local pro and college players used to come mix it up during the off-season, many old-timers say the standard at Mosswood has slipped in recent years. But there's one way to find out for sure: Stop by the park on a weekday afternoon or weekend morning, lace up the high-tops, and try not to get dunked on by the next future NBA star.
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