“ Manufacturer: Lifetime / Type: Ball Sports „
My boys have both enjoyed playing basketball since they were small. Starting with short, free standing basketball nets, they graduated onto a full sized wall mounted system, but I found that this not only had to be moved up the wall as they grew, but also started to damage the wall behind it, as the ball ricocheted off during a miss.
I decided to spend £137 on a quality Lifetime portable system which had a semi professional spec. Located in Utah, Lifetime Products is the world's largest manufacturer of home basketball equipment. It was the first company to provide a complete basketball system in one package, and this complete package concept now dominates the market. Lifetime class the Pro Court system that I chose as 'intermediate level' on their website.
Although the base of the portable system does take up valuable ground space, it has the advantage of being completely movable, and fully adjustable to grow with your child. It requires minimal installation and can be folded up for storage or transportation if necessary.
There are no tools required for assembly and the whole system is quite simple to put together. The weight of the complete package is 55.8 pounds, and this alone persuaded me to ask for help with erection. Although the instructions are easy to follow, I would recommend two people for the job, just because the length of the pole means that it can swing out of control.
The base has a pair of small plastic wheels that help you to move or position it. Once in place, you fill up the base to about half capacity, raise the post upright, and then fill the base to capacity. Once the net is attached to the backboard, and the adjusting mechanism attached, it is merely a case of fixing the pole onto the base with a simple bolt, filling the base with water or sand, and raising the pole. The final task is to screw the stabilising bars into place.
I chose to fill my 27 gallon base with water rather than sand as this was far easier for me. The instructions do warn about the potential damage that can be done during hard frosts, but I felt that this was a warning for those living with deep and prolonged US winters, rather than our lesser English snows. The instructions state that 319 pounds of sand are required. Once the base is filled, it definitely takes two people to move the system, One person to hang onto the pole and tilt it onto the small wheels at the front, and the other to lift the now incredibly heavy base and manoeuvre it in the right direction. I would not recommend thinking about moving it any great distances whilst the base is full.
This is a very professional looking basketball system, with a 44 inch acrylic backboard in red and black, with clear acrylic giving the professional look and feel of glass. This backboard is close to the regulation 72 by 42 inch size of an NBA backboard. The hoop is very sturdy, and comes with a durable net, which is kept equally spaced on the hoop by sturdy small metal hooks.
The pole is 2.75 inches round, and has a telescoping height adjustment which allows you to adjust from 7.5 to 10 feet in 6-inch increments. One of the nicest features of this system is the Speed shift height adjustment; a kind of counterbalanced ratchet system which enables instant height adjustment. Applying gentle pressure with one hand moves the backboard two feet upwards or downwards, without having to adjust the telescopic pole..
This basketball system has been enthusiastically used by my teenage boys for over a year. They love the sturdy build, which means that they can hang off the hoop for slam dunks without the system tilting or bending. The hoop is as stable as ever, as the heavy duty ring has double compression rings which means that it springs back into place without tearing the backboard. My son weighs 10 stone now, and the ring remains stable.
The height can be set for the tallest adult, and the speed shift adjustor means that the hoop can be raised and lowered for slam dunks or high shots, the counter balance springs doing most of the work for you.
Two people can easily move the system around on the small wheels, but not too far! One person needs to use their weight to tip the system onto the wheels, whilst the other person catches the top of the pole to assist in the moving and prevent the pole from pulling back upright due to the weight of the water filled base.
After a year of being left outside in all weathers, this system still looks very new. The colours of the backboard have not faded, the pole has not rusted, and the water filled based has not been damaged by frost or severe snows.
I am extremely happy with both the quality and the design of this system and would recommend it to anybody with active teenagers.