On Wednesday night Dyckman Park was rockin'. There must've been upwards of 3,000 people in attendance. They were on the fences around the park, on the ground, on the court, and on the 1 train to watch the main event.
Jim Jones's squad, Vampire Life, took on Skull Gang, the team of "Twin" and Juelz Santana, and it was a star-studded event on and off the court for this highly anticipated match up of Harlem vs Harlem. If that wasn't enough of a draw for the fans in attendance, there were rumblings that Jim Jones put $90,000 on this game.
Kenny "Grown Man Stuff" Satterfield, Julius "The Opposition" Coles, Curtis "Great Adventure" Kelly, Anthony "I-Robot" Glover, and Mike "Optimus Prime" Glover were but a few of the stars featured on the court.
As the game commenced, the stars kept entering the park. First native Harlemites Juelz Santana and Jim Jones arrived with their respective teams and New York Knick J.R. Smith, fresh off of knee surgery. Soon after the tip-off, rapper Fabolous, whose single When I Feel Like It bumps in the park on any given night, entered the park to take in the action.
Approximately five minutes into the second half there was some commotion on the far baseline that stopped play. It was none other than Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill entering the park. He sat in celebrity row alongside Fab, Juelz, and J.R. Smith. Jim Jones, meanwhile, stayed on the sidelines to motivate Vamp Life.
The action on the court did not disappoint. The physicality from the outset made it clear that neither team was about to give this one up without a fight. The game had the feel of a playoff atmosphere—possibly a decisive game 7 type of feel.
Each team went on back-and-forth runs, exchanging leads until about the last 3 or 4 minutes of regulation, when Vamp Life built up a cushion.
Hard fouls, trash talk, and relentless effort were in abundance. The battle between brothers Mike and Anthony Glover looked personal when the elder brother, Anthony, pulled Mike out of the air, removing even the remotest possibility that he would dunk, let alone finish.
In the end, despite the intense passion from coach "Twin" of Skull Gang, Vampire Life outlasted Skull Gang.
Dyckman, like most parks, is a tough place to shoot. Yes there were about 100 fans on the court serving as additional obstacles for the players to overcome, but I'm referring to my shooting from the sidelines. The uneven lighting that is mostly dim on a good night, forced me to get very creative in the use of my camera and my position on the court.
I embraced the challenge and came away with a few decent shots (found throughout this post). The energy at Dyckman on night's like this—which are actually quite common—is like a powerful magnet that pulls me right in. Some strobes might not hurt, but the experience is a great one nonetheless. I look forward to returning to Dyckman to get more shots throughout the rest of the summer.
I'll be back to post on Team Nike's second tryout at Gaucho's Gym earlier this week and my images from that event. Check back later this week.