It’s hard to be a baller in Lisbon. A crowded city, the domination of futebol, and the lack of a national basketball tradition make playing proper basketball a tough task for those new to Lisbon. However, with a little research and a transport pass, it’s possible to find a good pick-up game (or amateur leagues, if ball is life).
- Parque das Mamas, a seven-minute walk from the Olivais Metro Station on the red line is the favorite outdoor court for members of Basquetebol Lisboa, Lisbon’s go-to Facebook group for pickup game announcements and locals who stay up late enough to watch live NBA games.
- The Blue Court at Rua Olavo D’Eça Leal: Brand-new and tucked between apartment buildings and offices, this park features clean courts and fresh hoops. There is frequent activity here, with players of all ages. It’s a 10-minute walk from the Laranjeiras Metro station, on the Blue Line.
- Campo Martires de Patria This is the most accessible court in central Lisbon and doubles as a space for futebol. Despite the prime location, the hoops are beat up and unloved. The surrounding green spaces and large trees in buzzing downtown Lisbon make for great scenery, but unfortunately the crooked, netless rims make it a less-than-ideal place to play, especially if you like watching your shots swoosh.
Competitive basketball through local leagues exists mostly outside the city center, in areas such as Queluz, Estoril, Restelo, and Alges. Many teams, or clubes, feature varying age and skill levels for both male and female athletes. For adults, there is the Seniors level, which is geared toward high-level amateur athletes between the ages of 18 and 35. For older ballers or less-serious adult competitors, many clubs offer a Veteranos team for ages 18-60+.
While teams seem open to having non-Portuguese players on board, it is highly advised to have basic conversational Portuguese down as practices are commanded at higher speeds than your polite and drunk Lisboeta friends do on a Friday night.
Here is a list of amateur teams you can check out around town.