Best Basketball Court - 2005
Cardinal Ritter Gymnasium
Pickup hoops isn't for everyone, mainly because for every guy who's just out there for some good-natured run, there are five other guys whose life seems to depend upon whether their team comes out on the sunny side of a game of full-court four-on-four. This makes a run at, say, the Downtown Y or Fairground Park virtually insufferable. The sad thing is, a lot of these whiners have talent, but their incessant bitching so obscures it that you forget you're even playing basketball. It's like a debate team in shorts, and cussing. Thank God, then, for Cardinal Ritter's Bonner League. St. Louis' only all-black Catholic prep school has a very nice new gym, and some very nice ballers grace it for a couple months of our town's equivalent to NYC's Rucker League, commingling playground legends with NCAA and NBA luminaries. A lot of mouths are running in Bonner League (named after former SLU star Anthony Bonner), but here it's nothing more than background chatter, given the presence of courtsmen like Darius Miles and Tommie Liddell, East Side prodigies who let their play do the talking for them.