New York’s Basketball Diaries
There are many sides to the big apple – just as there are of all famous cities. And for some people – the darker side of life is what great cities and great art can all be about.
New York is perhaps the most famous of all cities for its darker side – and it is possible to view this side of life whilst you’re here; just make sure you do so from the safety of a cab or organised tour. Some of the alternative New York tour guides can be really fascinating.
A book and a movie that really sums up this darkly fascinating side of the big apple, its art, music, culture and cinema is the “The Basketball Diaries”. Originally, this was a 1978 memoir penned by the musician-cum-author Jim Carroll (sadly no longer with us – he died in 2009).
This is really a collection of diaries Jim kept when he was growing up in New York and they cover the period of his life between the ages of 12 and 16; a time when he was coming of age, whilst trying to break into basketball and, tragically, becoming addicted to heroin during the mid-1960s.
The diaries detail all aspects of his daily life, from his first sexual experiences, to his high school basketball and the whole Cold War anti conventional culture movement that really took root in New York around this period.
The book was made into a fascinating movie in 1995 starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Jim Carroll. The film portrays his fall into heroin addiction and his consequent decline. Originally, Jim is a key player in a fantastic basketball squad. His whole life is centred around the sport and the court which gradually becomes a metaphor for the world Jim is creating in his head.
If ever you get chance, read the diary and see the movie. But better yet, come to New York and see the streets where Jim lived and watch the basketball teams he watched.
Taking in any big league basketball game, football game or baseball game is something else in New York – and it’s something every tourist should try and do here. Basketball in particular, is a counter-culture all of its own.
Betfair offer odds ion all major basketball games, and because Betfair is an exchange rather than a conventional bookmaker, this can add a real touch of spice to proceedings. The fun thing about having a bet on basketball with Betfair is that it makes the sport interesting for those of us who wouldn’t otherwise be interested – particularly as the odds are changing throughout the game for the big live events etc.
Betfair also offers free bets for new customers, so it’s worth having a flutter before you go to a game as you won’t be able to do so in the States as things stand.
Of course, you don’t need to go to a game to enjoy the Basketball Diaries – the memoirs were really all about the darker side of life in the world’s most important city. And to see a slice of this whilst touring New York really is fascinating; but stay safe.