What started as taking pictures of basketball courts around the boroughs of New York has turned into thousands of Instagram users from all over the world sending in photos of hoops to one account: Local Hoops.
Founded by Jon Haray and Alex Rhubart, Local Hoops is a basketball brand centered around telling the authentic stories of the many overlooked aspects of the game. From the producer that puts together your favorite ESPN segment to a mossy backboard tucked away in an obscure location, LH is driven by connecting hoopers around the world.
A natural extension of the brand came in the form of documenting various types of courts throughout the boroughs of New York City. Both Alex and Jon would go out and capture different locations around the city, while Instagram users would tag Local Hoops in their discoveries of courts they found in their own pockets of the country.
As the number of users who sent photos to Alex and Jon piled up, the two felt that they needed to develop a strategy in which their posts wouldn’t get lost in the jumble of Instagram’s feed. Thus began the launch of Local Hoop’s new global hoops map feature.
“So we approached the developer, to see how we can get it done,” Jon Haray says. “We integrated it with Google Maps, and we took some time, about a few months to build it out. And we really wanted to make sure that the first two capabilities of searching for a court anywhere in the world would work and submitting a court work.”
Here’s how it works: when social media users post photos of courts on their feed, they tag Local Hoops in the post. Local Hoops then contacts the user, collects the photo, a general location and their handle to include in their interactive map.
The map itself is filled with hundreds of tiny blue backboards and red stanchions that showcase where a hoop, park or court is located. Users can click on the hoop and a photo immediately pops up; anything from a milk carton drilled above a garage door to the long silver stanchions of the outdoor hoops in Venice Beach.
“There [are] hoops everywhere, literally every corner of the world,” Haray says. “Basketball is just growing at a really rapid rate so when you see a hoop in the middle of the desert, or on a deserted island, or all these garage hoops everywhere, it feels like the game is growing like crazy.”
Roughly a month since the interactive map dropped, Haray says the team has received over 1,000 submissions. Hundreds of the hoops icons are spread out across the map, from Kailua, Hawaii to Moscow, Russia to South Korea, truly showcasing just how universal the game of basketball is.
Haray says the next feature is to bring more local information to the map; providing hoopers in a designated area with a one-stop-shop to find random pick-up games, leagues and tournaments.
“So let’s say you’re going to Brazil, and you want to connect with someone out there that works in basketball, or has a basketball organization, a league or a tournament, you can go onto the map and find that information. So there’s definitely a lot of potential with putting more information on the map and connecting people from around the globe through basketball,” Haray says.
Photos via Local Hoops.