In a city full of funky cement basketball courts with chain nets, Live Oak Park stands out as a local park that makes playing hoops so enjoyable it has morphed into a regional draw, bringing regulars from Inglewood, Lawndale and all over the South Bay. Not only does it feature the green asphalt surface that is so much easier on the body than plain old cement, but the courts are surrounded on three sides by steep walls that negate the swirling winds that can turn outdoor games into a slightly less violent version of tackle football. Instead of the typical game where big, burly guys attack the basket and skinny jump shooters are left out of the action, here outside shooters reign supreme and skill is just as important as bulk and aggression. Bonus: Shaquille O’Neal in the old days and Steve Nash in recent weeks have been spotted here working on their games. And if you turn an ankle, Lakers trainer Gary Vitti lives nearby and has been known to lend a hand. 1601 N. Valley Drive, Manhattan Beach. (310) 545-0888, ci.manhattan-beach.ca.us — Paul Teetor
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