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Hoops Legend Jamal Crawford Shares His Seattle Favorites

Dick’s burgers, Quincy Jones, and the basketball courts at Green Lake Park.


JAMAL CRAWFORD technically hasn’t played basketball for a Seattle-based team since he graduated from Rainier Beach High School in 1999. But, over the course of a two-decade professional career, he emerged as perhaps the city’s chief hoops evangelist. Out of the NBA since 2020, Crawford, now 43, stays busy with family, broadcast work, and continuing to run Seattle’s long-standing pro-am summer basketball league. Under his guidance, it’s been renamed “The CrawsOver” and turned into a destination for basketball superstars like Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Kevin Durant. ¶ The CrawsOver draws long lines every summer. Crawford thinks the city is ready for the return of the NBA, and that we’re only a few years away—“I said that a long time ago, too, but now I actually believe it myself.” And if the Sonics do make a return, he certainly wouldn’t mind being involved. “That would be a dream, right? To represent your hometown team in some way, shape, or form.” On a recent morning,

Crawford shared some of his Seattle favorites. 

Place to Get Breakfast

It has to be Geraldine’s in Columbia City. I think the people who are a part of it make it special. Rest in peace to the owner, Gary, who just passed away. It just has this vibrant, community feel. You can see some of everybody in there, and it’s just all kinds of people mingling and interacting. I order the french toast and bacon.

Seattle Sports Team to Watch

I would say the Mariners right now, especially Julio Rodríguez.

Local Musicians

Sir Mix-a-Lot, Quincy Jones, Macklemore. Of course, Nirvana. We’ve gotta say Jimi Hendrix. Pearl Jam. And the new generation, we’ve gotta put Gifted Gab in there.

Family Activity

I love to take them to Seward Park. They love being outside. It’s great scenery. The water. Especially on a sunny day, it’s really, really fun.

Basketball Court to Play On

Can it be a tie? I would say Green Lake Park and Liberty Park in Renton, which is now called Crawford Court. (Editor’s note: Crawford’s foundation donated more than $50,000 for new courts at the park in 2011.) I grew up playing on both of them when I was younger. In Green Lake, obviously, it’s the scenery, the water being right there. I thought it was really cool, and you always had people stopping by the court. And Liberty Park, that was the first major outside court I started playing on when I was a kid just chasing my dream. 

Seattle Hot Take

It’s the most beautiful place in the world. People who don’t live here will say, oh, it rains all the time, it’s gloomy. But if you know, you know. I don’t usually say it too loud, because I like to keep it our secret so we keep it special.

Pro-Am Memories

For me personally, it was being a 16-year-old kid and getting a chance to play in it, because it changed my life, as far as thinking I can actually make it pro. Then I would say the Midnight Madness game in 2014. I got married the next day.

I don’t drink, and I wasn’t going to go out and have a bachelor party, so I said let’s have a bachelor party here for the whole city—for free. I had everybody here in town because it’s my wedding anyway. We had Chris Paul, Matt Barnes, all these guys. So that was my bachelor party, and what better way than to be playing basketball with the whole city watching at 12 o’clock at night. Go figure.

Sonics Players

Gary Payton, Shawn Kemp, Detlef Schrempf. But Gary was my actual favorite. His swagger, his confidence. You just felt like he was representing the city every time he played. His fearlessness—I just loved it, being a guard as well. I didn’t take the defensive part, but I definitely took the swagger from him. 

We’re still a basketball town. If you look at the Storm, if you look at how the universities are doing—since the Sonics left in 2008, we’ve had at least 15, 20 guys get drafted. They’re doing really well and having great careers.


I would say the south end of Seattle. I spent most of my time there growing up, so that’s my favorite part. It’s changed, but some of the landmarks remain the same. Even right now, my old high school is getting redone, but it still feels like Rainier Beach. You can change a lot about a community, but the heartbeat of what it is will always be there.


Dick’s burgers. I usually go to the Broadway one.


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