Lost Hoops

Full-court depress? Basketball hoops can be sad things when not in use.

Lost Hoops

They just stand there, haughty geometric objects that clash with their surrounding context.

Lost Hoops

That is, if their context is the tropics, where palm and banana trees sway unkempt in the background.

Lost Hoops

That sums up photographer Adrian Skenderovic’s "Lost Hoops" series, which documents seemingly unused, unloved basketball posts.

Lost Hoops

Of course, what makes the series more interesting than the aforementioned is the variety of hoops on display--each with its own personality.

Lost Hoops

Not all hoops are created equal.

Lost Hoops

Some are handmade, cobbled together from spent or found material.

Lost Hoops

Others are the standard Plexiglas plastic type, which further distances them from their lush, natural surroundings.

Lost Hoops

The photographs were taken during Skenderovic’s travels through Southeast Asia.

Lost Hoops

He rented a moped and went from village to village in search of any and all basketball hoops.

Lost Hoops

He doesn’t like giving the locations of the hoops (not even the countries)…

Lost Hoops

…hoping that the lack of geographic context will lend to the overall mystery of the images.

Lost Hoops

The series is a tribute to the neighborhoods that sustain these communal courts.

Lost Hoops

And though they seem deserted, Skenderovic assures us that the courts are still in use.

Lost Hoops

Yes, even this one. Maybe.

Co.Design

Hoop Dreams: The Beautiful Ruins Of Basketball Courts

A Paris-based photographer shows the character and heartbreak in the post-game of basketball hoops.

Few things say neglect quite like an unhinged, bent up, rusty-peely netless basketball hoop. It’s a sad sight, often evoking more than its own decay. The weathering, though, does hold great documentary appeal, as Paris-based photographer Adrian Skenderovic illustrates.

His “Lost Hoops” series catalogs the ramshackle basketball courts of Southeast Asia. (He likes to keep the exact locations a secret.) The structures--some made from concrete and plexiglass, others out of riffraff--are in a sorry state. They’re covered in grime, soiled by water stains, and, in some cases, completely lacking a hoop at all.

Despite appearances, however, these courts remain in frequent use, Skenderovic tells Co.Design. “Those hoops looks neglected, but in reality people are still playing with them, even with the most tired ones. They’re still an essential institution in the local community.”

That last point touches on what makes these basketball posts so poignant. In nearly all parts of the world, in neighborhoods of every level of poverty to wealth, you’ll find some kind of a sports court. Whether it’s snazzy and new or makeshift, it represents a coming together of the community--a place to compete, hang out, hash it out. When the community falters or fractures, it shows in the environment, including its basketball hoop.

Well, that’s one explanation, anyway. The photographs also appeal to the Internet’s seemingly insatiable lust for ruins. Abandoned factories, gutted buildings, ghost cities, decaying hospitals, crumbling theaters, empty motel pools. In most cases, these structures are unremarkable were they in top form. But add a layer of patina, heavy doses of oxidation, and unruly spools of ivy, and…let the romance begin.

Of course, Skenderovic’s photographs frame more than the hoops. Palm and banana trees stud the backgrounds of his images, forming a lush, green mass, an untamable bit of nature that contrasts with the hardtop courts and the stark white geometry of backboards. The effect is kind of like coming across a stop sign on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere.

For Skenderovic, the hoops take on near anthropomorphic character. “Their homemade look caught my eyes. They have all their own personality, their own story,” he says. They’re avatars of the isolated but lively villages he spent weeks exploring via moped. The grand takeaway? Sometimes a basketball hoop isn’t just a basketball hoop.

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5 Comments

  • nanay

    All shots taken in the Philippines, FIBA-Asia #2, craziest basketball fans, ever.

  • hans wee

    i'd guess the philippines too.  most basketball obsessed country in SE asia

  • David Esrati

    You don't have to go to the tropics- right here in Dayton Ohio- on city courts, we have mangled rims, rusted backboards, the works.
    I've been putting up basketball nets instead of buying yard signs in my run for city commission- I've hung over 200 nets so far. Watch the video and look at the posters about the nets that I've gotten barbers in town to sponsor: www.hoopsdayton.org

  • Alvaro Perez Gominola

    I like this post, it makes me feel like when I was in mexico and I was watching all the people of the orphanage playing American Football and feeling like it doesn't exists nothing except the sport that you're watching.