Robin Layton's new book, Hoop: The American Dream, is the fruit of a cross-country trip during which she photographed basketball hoops of every style, shape, and size. A selection of her photos is below, accompanied by her commentary.
"Larry Bird's Childhood Hoop" (French Lick, Ind.)
This was taken at Larry Bird's childhood home in French Lick. The hoop is mounted on the garage beside his childhood home, just as it was when he grew up there. It was an amazing feeling to stand there and imagine him playing as a boy.
I was given a tour of the Cleveland Cavaliers' facility. When I walked into the practice gym, the team had just finished practicing, and I saw this ball lit by the light in the hallway.
"Freeway Hoop" (San Francisco)
This hoop was one of a couple located under the freeway in San Francisco. When the sun started to go down, the sky turned that magical dark blue, which is one of my favorite times to shoot.
"LBJ" (Akron, Ohio)
This is the childhood hoop of LeBron James, located at Perkins Woods Pool.
"Woven" (Sheffield, Mass.)
I love how the ivy is weaved throughout this net. It's if the vine is part of the hoop.
"Lean Forward" (North Bend, Wash.)
I saw this hoop on the side of the road from the freeway on a foggy evening in North Bend.
"On Golden Pond" (Watkins, Colo.)
This is the only hoop I saw that was mounted on a swing. I loved the setting and reflection in the pond.
"Pink" (Walden, Colo.)
The color of the Lincoln Town car caught my eye, and then I saw the hoop beside it. When I saw the reflection in the window, I knew I had the photo.
"Shaq's Hoop" (Newark, N.J.)
This is the childhood hoop of Shaquille O'Neal, located at the Boys & Girls Club in Newark. Says Shaq: "The Boys & Girls Club saved my life."
"Heaven Sent" (Crow Agency, Mont.)
This hoop was in the middle of a field on the Crow Agency Indian Reservation. The owner told me his grandfather put it up for him in the 1960s.
"Stars and Stripes" (Crow Agency, Mont.)
This hoop was made by a boy growing up on the Crow Agency Indian Reservation. The stars are made of plastic; they'd chipped over the years, along with the paint. I loved it so much I bought it from the parents and brought it home.
Robin Layton is an award-winning photojournalist, filmmaker and renowned artist. Recently she's been invited by Nikon to be a Nikon Ambassador for the United States. At the age of 24, Life magazine named Robin one of the eight most talented photographers in America. Her work has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and featured in the Smithsonian.
Her newest coffee-table book, Hoop: The American Dream, contains photographs of unique basketball hoops across America and the childhood hoops of some of the most revered players of our time. Thirty one players (15 women and 16 men) gave her quotes and stories to go with the photos, and Jerry West wrote the forward. The book is dedicated to Pat Summitt, and a portion of the proceeds are going to The Pat Summitt Foundation, supporting the fight against Alzheimer's. It's also dedicated to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.