Three years ago, the Indiana Pacers hit on an idea for a marketing slogan and instead found they’d conjured a phrase that defines an entire state: “We Grow Basketball Here.”
It is not by accident that two of the men whose names grace major college basketball player of the year awards, John Wooden and Oscar Robertson, were born and raised here. It is not by accident that Rick Mount, George McGinnis, Glenn “Big Dog” Robinson and Steve Alford were produced by Indiana high schools, or that Bob Knight, Gene Keady, Rick Majerus, and Brad Stevens became coaching stars on this state’s college stages.
Take a walk through any Indiana subdivision and count the basketball hoops in the driveways. Take a stroll near the playgrounds in Indianapolis and see how often the courts are occupied with pickup games.
This is the spirit, the intrinsic connection between community and sport, that photographers Chris Smith and Michael E. Keating have captured so beautifully in their book Chasing Indiana’s Game: The Hoosier Hardwood Project, which was published last month by IU Press.