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Staten Island Basketball League

The players are from all walks of life-rich, poor, middle class. They are working, unemployed, underemployed or retired. They are teachers, detectives, grad students, businessmen, fire department lieutenants, teachers, physician’s assistants, construction workers, politicians, lawyers and others all glued together for the love of the game. Craig Raucher-Commissioner

Announcements - Get the latest updates about events right here or follow our twitter account @sibleague

Like To Play Basketball?

What The Players Have To Say

“Although we call it a league it is more accurate to describe us as a group of highly competitive guys playing together for many many years."

"The true glue to this group is the camaraderie and friendships that have developed and endured”

"We are able to play for long stretches at a time with players of equal ability, minus the macho and combative atmosphere that exists in schoolyard ball.“

“The caliber of play and the competitiveness of the games is what keeps everyone coming back for more. It is basketball heaven for guys over 30.” 

The Run

Recently a call came into the league office from the Staten Island District Attorney’s office. The assistant DA asked for Craig Raucher and not knowing what to think I of course answered the call. The ADA wanted to play ball with us and was told in his office that the Staten Island Basketball League had the best “run“ on the Island. Of course we invited him down.

Now for those of you who play b-ball the term “run” has a much different meaning to players. Having the “best run” takes on a greater meaning. The term run is the b-ball language for the game itself in a venue. People come to different parks in New York City, different gyms and other locations looking for a good run. A good run means that the game is very competitive. It means that the players are very competitive. It means that the game is played at a high level with guys that can play.

The magnetism and the appeal to players is that they always want to go to a place where the run is always good. Not good once in a while but good all the time. This league and these players here provide the run. We have the best run on the Island and prove it twice a week in and week out. How is your run?

The Zone

If you play the game you know what the zone is. It is a physical and emotional place you strive of to be in. It validates you as a player. It is the result of thousands of games played over dozens of years with hundreds of players. The zone is when you cannot miss. You shoot you score. Long distance short distance it goes up it goes in. Three, four five times in a row. Unconscious. It does not happen often but when it does it is magical. We have all been there...but not enough

The Origin: Great Kills Park - Staten Island, New York

Where it all began Staten Island Basketball League

Located right outside of Public School 8 where the League plays. We started as unlimited numbers of urban kids have always begun by playing in the park. Some call it the court or the yard or the school. Outdoors. New York, Chicago, Miami, Houston, LA, Madrid, Seoul, Cape Town all cities across the USA and the world have thousands of them. They are all the same: old, backboards metal and rusting, rims tight and unforgiving. Water fountains working or broken. Guys getting high, sniffing glue, drinking and gambling hidden in the back. Maybe a net is electric taped to the hoop maybe it is just a rim. The court is cement hard.

We went to learn how play the game school yard style. Play ground ball. No refs. Physical, difficult, uplifting and redeeming. The competition strong and the games intense. Nothing easy and you have to bring it. You lose and you can sit for an hour with many people waiting. You win and run the table you own the court. But only for that day. The game is pure. You score more points and you win.

In the winter we shoveled the snow from the court and played with gloves on. In the Summer the sun was unrelenting and played until we wilted from the heat. From this park we played in places called the Pit, the Zoo, the Jungle, the Beach. Competition got bigger better and stronger.

The lessons learned on the court carried through life. Team work, hard work, camaraderie.

The Hook

What draws people to this game and this group? Why do players come twice a week for weeks and months and years in a row? Why do old timers turn up to play? What is the hook? The hook in the consistency of the game: played at a high level, played aggressively, played by players who can play and have edge, played by those that don’t want to lose. The hook are the younger players who want to show their best and the older players who want to show they are the best. 25 vs 50, 30 vs 60. No slackers, no laziness, no excuses. Flat out heavy duty b-ball. Once the hook is in you can’t get it out.

About Us

2016 Marks Our 36th Year

The well known Staten island Basketball League at PS 8 was founded by Craig Raucher and is the longest and oldest running continuous group at one location in the history of the New York school system.

The ages of the players runs from 25 to 65 and the league is not run in a traditional way. During each three-hour session most players have played eight games. It's a good workout and a highly competitive experience.

Read About Us In The News

Back in the Game Article June, 2016
SIlive.com Article October, 2015
SIlive.com Article January, 2014
SIlive.com Article July, 2010

Where We Play

PS 8 where the league plays is 60 years old on July 23rd 2016 Staten Island Basketball League Staten Island Basketball League Staten Island Basketball League Public School 8 , where the group has played for 30 plus years, is one of the oldest schools on Staten Island and in New York City proper.Located in the town of Great Kills the school was built in 1915 and additions were made to the main building in 1937 and again in 1952. Named as the Shirlee Solomon school in 1992 after Mrs. Solomon who was a crusader for both children’s rights and education.

The gym at P S 8 is old yet in great shape. The backboards are wooden as are the floors and the court is smaller then most basketball venues.When you enter this gym you are stepping into a bygone era and reminds you of the gym pictured in the movie Hoosiers.


Began as the Brooklyn Athletic League in Brooklyn, New York and changed for the past 36 years to the Staten Island Basketball League we have played twice weekly full court basketball in a 60-year-old wooden floor and wooden backboard Hoosiers style gym. It has been a magnet for older players who got very tired of playing with the run, gun and selfish ways of younger players outdoors and needed a more comfortable game. It became a haven for older seasoned players who could not take the pounding of concrete in schoolyards anymore.

Managed and nurtured all of these years by Craig Raucher it is called a league. Really it is a large group of men coming together Wednesday nights and Saturday mornings like religious zealots seeking the high of a basketball win in controlled pick up games. Living on the winning shot until the next get together or the great pass or the monster rebound ecstasy and agony play out.

Over the years there have been 250 plus players who have come through the gym doors to play regularly. Son Daniel started coming down when he was 13 to shoot around evolved into a player by 16 and dominated by 23.


 We play every Wednesday (7-10 p.m.) and Saturday (8-11 a.m.)
 Interested in joining? Contact Us
 Craig Raucher, Commissioner
 (718) 605-2189

Public School 8
112 Lindenwood Road
Great Kills
Staten Island
NY 10308

In memory of

Joseph F. Grillo

Six Feet of Loyalty

Joseph Grillo died on September 11, 2001 searching for people on the 64th floor of the World Trade Center when it collapsed.

He called himself Jumping Joe. He was six-feet even, but bite your tongue if you think that is short for a basketball player. How tall do you think Allen Iverson is?

Joseph Grillo, as his wife, Mary Jo, put it, "was a maniac basketball player." He played three times a week, with friends from Brooklyn on Friday and with a group on Staten Island called the Staten Island Basketball League, where he lived, on Wednesday and Saturday.

He played hard. He played exceptionally well. He would not stop, even as the game gnawed at his 46-year-old body. "It took his knees, his ankles, his wrists," his wife said. "But he loved it so much."

Mrs. Grillo supported his commitment, though she established certain fouls of her own. He wanted to play on their wedding day. Forget that. The Saturday game took place in the morning, and the men liked to return home and collapse on the couch. "A lot of them slept all day," Mrs. Grillo said. She made it clear that he had to do things with her and the two boys. So he would have a hearty lunch and keep his eyes open.

Another thing about Mr. Grillo, a risk finance analyst for the Port Authority, was that he was intensely loyal to a wide network of friends. He was great at listening to their problems. "He was aware of whose wife had breast cancer, whose kid was giving his parents a hard time," Mrs. Grillo said. "I heard from so many people, 'Oh, I had just talked to Joe the week before,' 'I just talked to Joe the day before.' I started to wonder, 'Did he ever do any work?' “

The eulogy for Joe was given by Craig Raucher the Commissioner of the legendary Staten Island Basketball League to an overflowing crowd of people at Holy Child Church on Staten island. Noted in the eulogy Raucher said that “pound for pound Joe was the greatest“ player to walk through our doors in the 25 plus year history.

Some weeks later a tree was planted in Joes honor at Staten Islands famed Snug Harbor Botanical Gardens by the Staten Island Basketball League and Joe was honored in a ceremony preceding the planting. A plaque honoring Joe was placed in front of a newly planted white dove tree in his honor saying “This tree is a memorial for Joe Grillo a great basketball player but a better man” The tree is located in a section called the Chinese Scholars Garden one of the most beautiful areas on the grounds.