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Louisville’s annual Dirt Bowl street ball basketball tournament could help save playground basketball.

That is according to an article published today on ESPN.com that examines the fading style of outdoor basketball played on concrete courts.

Here’s the article.

The article pairs Louisville with New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington D.C.—hubs of street style basketball, where for decades the game’s best have laced up sneakers and battled the blazing summer heat for a game of basketball—and takes a look at what once was and what is becoming of playground basketball.

ESPN.com said the Dirt Bowl is “proof that playground ball will never be the same because of the swift migration indoors.”

One Louisville man, who also coaches his daughter’s AAU basketball team compares playing hoops on a playground to listening to a “pager or a Walkman” to younger generations. AAU, known for elite summer leagues, is thought to be the driving force behind the disappearance of intense street ball competition.

And the impact the AAU leagues have had on playgrounds is noticeable to Marty Storch, the Louisville’s deputy parks and recreation director.

“It’s really changed the game a lot,” he said.  “We’ve got a lot more indoor basketball than we have outdoor basketball right now.”

But the Dirt Bowl, an iconic tournament at Shawnee Park now in its 44th year, is helping rejuvenate the park and playground hoop scene, the ESPN story said.

ESPN.com adds “if there’s any hope that basketball on concrete might find its second wind, it’s here in this weekend event that’s embraced by the city and community.” 

Jacob Ryan is a reporter for the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.