Copyright 2016 © Elijah Solomon Hurwitz

Mother Jones:

Once installed, a basketball hoop will remain standing almost indefinitely, commencing a slow entropy towards rust and abandonment. It might stand years or even generations before time and weather have their way. Kids will grow up and fly the nest, but the backboard stays behind, a constant reminder of past camaraderie, solitary hours spent perfecting form, or missed opportunities. Always beckoning…take a shot. The hoop is just there, and in the state of Indiana, the hoops are everywhere.

Indiana’s obsession with the sport goes back to the early 1900’s. Vestiges of legends both half-forgotten and still in-the-making mark the landscape. With the Indiana University Hoosiers currently ranked #1 in college basketball for the first time in twenty years, "Hoosier Hysteria" has returned. I fell under the spell myself while studying at the college years ago, but never gave much thought to why this particular sport held such power over this particular place, until now.

I set out to photograph the footprint of basketball in places where it offers a short or potentially long-term escape from the confines of everyday life. Where it offers a way out of boredom or a way out of town. Where it offers a way to build bonds and rivalries. And often, where it's simply a way to pass the time when there's nothing better to do.

-November, 2012

Goshen, Indiana - Three Amish siblings shoot hoops in the backyard of their farm house as laundry dries. Nine brothers and sisters in all, their father is a horseshoe blacksmith.

Indiana State Prison - Inmates cheer for their teammates during a scrimmage against a local college. A maximum security prison, only inmates on good behavior are allowed to participate.

Indiana State Prison - The team huddles between plays, coached by fellow inmate "Teddy" in the green hat.

Indiana State Prison - An inmate soars for a dunk on the prison yards, originally constructed when Lincoln was president. John Dillinger was once famously held here.

Shelbyville, Indiana

Bowling Green, Indiana - Zach and Chad pose in front of their hoop while younger brother Cameron plays in the yard.

Bremen, Indiana - Brothers practice in front of their roadside home.

Gary, Indiana - A girl shoots on a makeshift basket in a rough section of the former murder capital of the US.

Michigan City, Indiana - Friends use a football to play a game of horse. Their basketball was stolen by someone in the neighborhood.

LaGrange, Indiana - A boy whose house doesn't have a basketball hoop practices his shooting form.

Wabash, Indiana

Loogootee, Indiana - Jack Butcher, the Indiana high school basketball coach with the most wins of all time, at his home. On the wall are framed pictures of his three sons, all of whom he coached.

French Lick, Indiana - A statue of Larry Bird in a parking lot in his hometown. Bird went on to win NBA championships with the Boston Celtics, play for the US Olympic team, and coach the Indiana Pacers.

Bloomington, Indiana - Ward gives a haircut at his barbershop. The walls display nearly every Indiana basketball schedule back to the 1980's.

Bloomington, Indiana - Ticket takers at Assembly Hall await eager fans at the first game of the season.

Bloomington, Indiana - A father and son await the first game of the Hoosiers' season from the top most row of Assembly Hall, capacity 17,472.

Bloomington, Indiana - The Hoosiers huddle before their first game. Ranked #1 for the first time in 20 years under coach Tom Crean, expectations are high this season.

Michigan City, Indiana

Warsaw, Indiana

Anderson, Indiana

Batesville, Indiana

South Bend, Indiana

Bloomington, Indiana