This past weekend began the playoffs for the popular George Goodman Basketball League in Washington, DC. The Goodman League began in 1975 as a community league in Barry Farms Public Housing. The league has since grown to become one of the most popular summer events in all of Washington, DC. It’s not unusual to find NBA hopefuls playing alongside and against pro NBA ballers during the summer as it is a rite of passage for many.
The games were also the highlight of the summer for the community. As the games occurred, residents of the community would grill, play music and listen to the game highlights from their front porches. For the few months of the summer, the games brought unity in the community and gave young men a positive outlet.
The playoff games are held at the Barry Farms Community Center basketball courts, across from the site of where Barry Farms Public Housing once stood. Barry Farms homes are currently being demolished to make room for mixed income apartment homes. The demolition of the Barry Farms apartment homes demonstrates the ever-present gentrification in Washington, DC.
In the wake of the destruction of Barry Farms apartment homes, the future of the Goodman League is uncertain. Many fear that the redevelopment project will bring new residents to the Barry Farms community. The new residents may not desire the noise and traffic that the games bring and disregard the cultural impact of the league. Many prior residents have been displaced and may not return to the community until the new apartment units are built, if at all. Prior residents may not be able to afford the cost of the mixed income units if units are made available to them. The displacement has already begun to drive down the regular attendance numbers.
When asked about the future of the League, Commissioner Miles Rawls stated he “can’t predict the future.” For now, game attendees can watch their favorite ballers in the playoffs at the Barry Farms Community Center while remaining hopeful for the league’s return next year