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50-year-old takes dream to new level

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A Bronx basketball hopeful has taken his dream of playing in the NBA and turned it into a unique career. 

Known as the Human Playground, Dave Ladson, of Decatur Avenue, is over 50 years old, but never lets age get in his way, as he takes his skills to various venues, entertaining kids and adults alike with a hoop on his back and a love for the game in his heart. 

“Each time I put a basketball in my hands, I say to myself, it’s for the kids’ smiles,” said Ladson.  “The kids say the basketball hoop on my back looks cool and that it keeps their eyes on my extraordinary basketball talent.”

Growing up was difficult for Ladson, who saw his mother tragically pass away at the age of 8.  Raised by his dad, Ladson turned to basketball for comfort, hoping his developing skills would get him the attention of NBA scouts. 

However, standing at only 5’9”, Ladson was deemed too short to play professional ball in the United States.  Taking inspiration from such players as those on the Harlem Globetrotters, Ladson became a one-man show, performing tricks with the ball, before adding roller skates to the mix. 

Having served in the Navy, Ladson soon went overseas again, having been asked to parlay his abilities for the Spanish basketball team.  Within eight years, Ladson became homesick and returned from Europe to the city he calls home, leaving off where he left off with some intriguing gimmicks and a never ending dream to perform in front for spectators. 

“For over 25 years, I have been putting big smiles on the faces of the young and old, all over the world,” said Ladson.  “I know I can make a big difference in a lot of kids’ lives, only if I can meet people, who can open a few doors.”

Ladson has already appeared on Showtime at the Apollo, Good Day New York and America’s Funniest People, and has performed for events sponsored by Ivana Trump, in addition to various block parties, hospitals, camps, after-school programs and private affairs. 

Now, Ladson, who spins balls on his fingers, juggles three basketballs at a time, and often times has kids shoot and dunk off his back, is hoping to perform more for local Bronx children.

 

“So what that I am over 50-years young,” Ladson says.  “I know I am just as good as a lot of 30-year-olds.  All I need is an opportunity to shine.”

For more information on how to contact Ladson to take part in various parties, check out www.humanplayground.teach-nology.com or call (718) 367-3572. 

 

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