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Phoenix says goodbye to city’s oldest basketball court

PHOENIX – When players take to the court for a pickup basketball game Monday, they will be the last ones to play on the oldest basketball court in Phoenix.

It’s the court inside the Lincoln Family Downtown YMCA, which opened in January of 1952.

“This floor is the original floor that has been in place since that opening,” said the YMCA’s Greg Corns.

The 60-year-old court is being ripped out to make way for a new maple floor.

The old court has always been a favorite spot for Phoenix Suns players.

“Dan Majerle’s played down here,” said Corns. “He used to play in league games after his Phoenix Suns days were over. Amar’e Stoudemire used to pop in all of the time when he was playing with the Suns, just to shoot around. The original Phoenix Sun, Dick Van Arsdale, and his twin brother Tom have played here, as well as Tim Kempton, and the list goes on.”

The floor has dead spots and the YMCA is no longer able to refinish it.

“Back in the 1950’s, they didn’t have the technology that you have today,” Corns said. “This floor sits on a sand base. The sand, over the years, has been displaced, so what you get is dead spots throughout the floor.”

One thing that will remain is a wooden ladder that hangs above one side of the court. It has also been here since 1952. Players used to use it for monkey bars that they could climb along.

The basketball area of the YMCA will close for about five weeks while the new court, baskets and scoreboard are being installed. The rest of the facilities at this YMCA will remain open.

As for the old floor, it will be ripped apart starting Tuesday morning, and will be made into something new.

“We’re going to repurpose it in the form of coasters, picture frames, and coat racks for kids that we’ll have on sale here going into October,” said Corns.

The proceeds from the sales will go toward the Valley of the Sun YMCA’s Strong Kids and Families campaign, which allows the YMCA opens it’s doors to everyone in the community, regardless of their ability to pay.

Corns said the new court is just part of a larger expansion project at the downtown YMCA.

“We have a partnership downtown with Arizona State University and we’re adding 75,000 square feet right next door,” he said.

That expansion will include more fitness areas and two new indoor basketball courts. It’s expected to be completed next year.