Mission Hill

Mission Hill, May 2014, sports


hoop on mission hill  (sonya kovacic)

hoop on mission hill (sonya kovacic)

"People never thought that much of the Boston scene. Boston didn't have that New York reputation, that kind of flavor, and it certainly wasn't touching Philadelphia. So people coming to Boston felt that they were going to be easy picking. Of course, they were mistaken."

— Former Celtics star Tom "Satch" Sanders, the coach of Boston's team for the first annual Boston Shootout basketball tournament. The Shootout was founded in 1972 by Ken Hudson – the first African-American NBA referee – as a chance to showcase Boston's homegrown high school players. Hudson handpicked the "Boston Six" — players from six local high schools who were trained on courts throughout the city — to compete against teams from New York, Washington, and Connecticut. Despite low expectations for the Boston Six, they went on to win the first annual championship by a 1-point margin.

In the following decades, the Boston Shootout became the most prominent showcase for high school basketball talent in the country. Throughout the years, the tournament hosted up-and-coming players like Kobe Byrant, Ron Artest, Grant Hill, Tree Rollins, and Patrick Ewing. 

The Mission Hill Projects were one of the highest-crime neighborhoods in Boston for decades, but they were home to some of the most talented basketball players in the city.  The Mission, a documentary released this year, tells the story of two brothers: one who ended up in jail, and one who ended up a college champion