It’s an unusually warm January evening on the Sunset Park basketball courts. As last light fades, Abraham, Jelani, Leopoldo and Michael play a warm-up game of two-on-two. Wilt, LeBron, Jordan and Dr. J they are not. But, oh, are they dedicated. You’ll find them here pounding it out every Saturday amid the rumble and roar of planes flying in and out of McCarran. They’ve been coming to Sunset for years for casual pick-up games. Sure, there’s the occasional hothead or court beef, but the competition is generally as friendly as it is plentiful.
“There are always a lot of new guys who come in, so you get to play with and meet different people every week,” says Michael Savage. “Then you get the same people (who) become your little rivals out here. It’s fun when you get to beat them.” When you ask them if this is a hobby, a pastime, a passion, the group answers in unison: “Ball is life.”