Some of the best basketball has been played on the playgrounds. There’s a documentary titled “16th and Philly,” which explores rise and fall of one of the country’s most notable playground basketball leagues held at 16th Street and Susquehanna Avenue in North Philadelphia. The playground has drawn comparisons to New York City’s “Rucker Park” League.

Isaiah Nathaniel, executive producer and Diamond Eye Sports, have put together a sports film that should bring back a lot of memories for people who attended these games. The league had some great crowds watching some of the best players showcase their talents over the years. Nathaniel has produced a documentary that not only captures the essence of how basketball was played on the venue, but provides the viewers with some great shots of the community surrounding the league.

He is currently the founder/CEO of Calcom Technologies and Partner at Diamond Eye Sports. Nathaniel played at the 16th Street League. He also played basketball for Central High and Delaware State.

“I feel blessed and honored to do something like this for Philadelphia,” Nathaniel said. “I also wanted to bring the nation into Philadelphia history. I really feel like this project puts Philadelphia back where it should be in the basketball world as a powerhouse. We produce many of the current NBA players from Philadelphia. This project is about a year and a half old.

“And one of the hardest things to do when you’re running an organization is keeping it quiet. We want to release it in a such a fashion that it would be a joy. The goal of this project is “let us make history and let’s be legendary.” Those were the models for this project. So, in doing that we wanted to do things that haven’t been done before. This project hasn’t been done before and we wanted to treat it with that historic value.”

The documentary features league legends and Philadelphia basketball historians such as Littel Vaughn, Joe Parham, Dave “Dr. Foot” Scheiner, Rodney “Hot Rod” Odrick, Rahim Thompson and others. The league had a number of great players such as Hank Gathers, Bryant “Sadeye” Watson and Aaron “AO” Owens. These players displayed their in the league from the late 1980s throughout the 1990s and into the early 2000s.

The documentary will premier on Feb. 6 at the African American Museum, 7th and Arch streets at 6 p.m. There will also be some free viewings in neighborhood centers throughout the city during Black History Month.

For more information, people should go to or contact


Contact Staff Writer Donald Hunt at (215) 893-5719 or

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