Street ball was born in the early 1900’s in Washington D.C. and New York City, specifically in Harlem where many basketball players were never given the opportunity to showcase their talents to professional scouts and become a professional basketball player. The idea that black basketball could become a very profitable enterprise was first thought of around the time after World War I. After World War I, when the populations of some cities grew, so too did amateur black basketball. Amateur street ball leagues emerged as more people began to play. Some of the very first teams were the Harlem Renaissance or “The Rens” and the Celtics. These two teams were both very dominant but the Harlem Renaissance was the preeminent team in the 1920’s. After World War II the Rens and some other street ball teams would travel to compete against all white teams. Many of these black players would later enroll in historically black colleges. Not only did street ball give them a way to showcase their talents and make money off of it, it also allowed them to have the drive to get an education. The excitement surrounding these teams grew and with that growth came more fans and more recognition, which even led to greater profit.
Even after players made it to the NBA it became a right of passage to come back to play at Rucker park to prove that they still had it. Street Ball characteristics have been put into some college teams such as Michigan with the fab 5. Street Ball has changed basketball as a whole and it has given players opportunity that they may have never had. Ernesto Morris, a Rucker historian talks about his memories of streetball at 127th street and 7th avenue in the film Doin' It in the Park. He says “guys like Wilt Chamberlin played here, thousands of ballplayers played here.” He also talks about how he even played against former New York Knicks player Walt Bellemy came out to the playground and him and his friends played against Bellemy. Streetball was a place young amateur basketball players could experience something unimaginable to most.