The culture of streetball brought lovers of the sport together regardless of the level of play or level of economic status. Butch Purcell, a Rucker Pro Hall of Fame Coach talks about his memories and he says “It was a real honor to say that I played where Wilt Chamberlin played, I played where Connie Hawkins played.” Streetball allowed the average person to relate to professionals and even see them on the same level as themselves. PeeWee Kirkland talks about how street basketball was about your pride, it was not just basketball, it was a way to express yourself to hundreds of other people. It was about who you were trying to become. Kirkland talks about how you had to have a confident attitude to succeed on the playgrounds of New York City. Streetball had its affects professional basketball as well as the ball handling in New York City slowly became part of NBA basketball. Oscar Robinson one of the all time great NBA superstars even credits Peewee Kirkland for being the first person to do a crossover. Kirkland goes as far as to say that street basketball is “the origin of the game, there would be no game without street basketball.” Getting a nickname on the playground is similar to being inducted into the hall of fame. You had to earn you nickname, you could never give it to yourself and if you had one everyone knew you were much more than an average player.
Homicide Williams got his shot at the NBA by dominating on the court. He had no mentors, coaches or scouts helping him he just went out and played basketball and it got him all the way to a try out for the Toronto Raptors where he was eventually the final cut on the team. He went on the star in the NBA developmental league and in Europe but it all started on the courts of New York City. Homicide talks about how he is “living proof” that a guy from the streets can make it. In some neighborhoods where drugs and gangs ruled the area, some kids turned to basketball to stay out of trouble and often times basketball would even lead them out of their previous life into one of wealth and fame. Streetball turned to even more than a way to just get out of their current situation, it became their lives, what they want to do, even turning down NBA contracts to continue their streetball career.