In 1969, not long after devastating loss of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., two college students started a community basketball tournament in Louisville, Kentucky’s West End. By the end of that summer, thousands of people packed the park every weekend to connect and watch basketball featuring the best players in the region: members of the Kentucky Colonels (the local professional team), star college and high school players, and future NBA stars. It was the biggest event of that year for many people living in a systematically disinvested end of town.
40 years later, the Dirt Bowl is going strong as outdoor street basketball tournaments are fading from the American urban landscape. True 5-on-5 streetball, the games are full of sweat, grit, and drama and are very much alive in college basketball mecca Louisville, Kentucky. A pride in the game, teams, and neighborhoods has been a uniter.
Kertis Creative spent the summer of 2014 meeting the players, coaches, fans, and community of the Dirt Bowl. From those weekends, we created a series of videos
that highlight high energy games, high fashion, hot food, side-court ball games, car parades, and crowd chatter. We've also contributed that content to a fantastic book project entitled, "Bang, I Said Bang! The History of the Dirt Bowl"
, and a public radio documentary