A couple important notes about playing basketball here:
1) People generally play four-on-four half-court to five points. Full court is almost unheard of.
2) People will call "fouls" that are not actually fouls. Get used to it.
3) Don't talk shit and drop snaps like in America -- it's a different culture. And just like anywhere in China, do not, under any circumstances, get into a fight with locals. People will drop down from trees and the heavens above and destroy you. Remember the park fight in that movie KIDS?
Alright let's jam.
Good outdoor court for half–court pick up with friends. If you're looking for a pick-up game, you can find some some decent athletes with low skill levels, especially in the evenings. Many of the players are high-school / college age. There's also a track and some pull-up bars.
A couple notes about this place, though. If it's been raining, the court gets really dirty and slippery. Also, you’ll need to walk five minutes into main complex (above the Family Mart) to get a ticket. They do not sell tickets on the court, and the grumpy bao an will NOT budge on letting you in without one. They may have balls for rent, but better bring your own.
General Prices: 5rmb per person/hour, or book the whole court for 150rmb/hour
Phone: 6467 0234
These courts see some of the best pick-up games in Shanghai. Expect a lot of locals standing six feet taller or more, and raining deadly shots. Defense is lacking though and half court games usually go to five, making it hard to get into a rhythm. You just need to call "next" to get on the court. It's always packed on weekends, but occasionally it’s not crowded and you can play some intense five-on-five full court. Locals bring their A–game here and go extra hard when foreigners show up. Do not get into a fight here. The side courts are more for fun and shooting around.
General Prices: Free
Phone: No phone number to call, just bring a ball and play.
Some of the newest, cleanest, and most well-kept courts in Shanghai right here. Usually the locals who play here are lower level or just shooting around. It seems like the more serious players are at the nearby Xujuihui park. However, on weekends, crowds of "fans" form to watch the games when it’s nice out.
You can also rent their fully fenced half-court cages, which have an American inner city feeling. That said, it’s not as rough as the real "no blood no foul" cage in downtown NYC, but still a fun setting to play some pick–up in. Bring your own ball.
General Prices: 10-15rmb per person.
Phone: 6426 6666 - Ext. 7069
Named after the legendary New York Rucker Park, the Shanghai Rucker has hosted NBA superstars like Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, and Kevin Durant. Courts are usually occupied but to get a game in all you have to do is call "next". The venue has over 18 baskets indoor and outdoor. Super streetball feel with graffiti and classic hip hop over the PA. Good games and serious players.
General Prices: 10rmb deposit, 10rmb/hour with a two–hour minimum charge.
Renting a ball: 100rmb deposit, 10rmb/ball
Phone: 3223 2001
The hoops at ECNU
International schools have the nicest courts in town -- especially the high schools. Most schools have private games organized by teachers or the PE department and can usually use a couple extra bodies. So do some networking through your English teacher friends and see if you can get an invite. The skill level ranges from casual to super competitive depending on the school, night, and turn out.
Colleges are also a good bet. East China Normal University (pictured above) and Jiaotong University often have some people playing pick-up, but the skill level varies tremendously.
Hey it's that park by Dada. Just a great place for dog walking, running, lounging (you can lay on the grass here -- just watch out for dog presents), and shooting hoops. The court gets fairly busy in the afternoons and on the weekends, and the players tend to be low to mid level. Bring your own ball, and maybe roll with a few friends.
General Prices: Free
Hours: 8am-8pm (park is open 24/7 but they lock the courts at night)
Ahhhh Xuhui Riverside Park, a.k.a. Xuhui Binjiang Green Space. Great place. They've got a free skatepark, free wall-climbing, a free running track, nice views, and free basketball courts. It's not the busiest court, so you'll want to come down here with some friends, and bring your own ball. But you can really make a day of a trip to this area, with the Long and Yuz museums right around the corner as well.
General Prices: Free
Know about other courts? Leave 'em in the comments. This list is a work in progress.