In 1971, petitioned by, The Rucker Pro League headed by Bob McCullough, the New York City Council renamed it Holcombe Rucker Playground, in memory of the Harlem native who used the basketball programs he started to help countless young men find their way in life.
The Pro Tournament also created a youth program entitled “Each One Teach One” that held clinics in the park since 1967. Clinics hosted by NBA basketball players, from the Rucker Professional League. Tiny Archibald and Dean Meminger were among the first coordinators of the Each One Teach One Program.
Over Memorial Day Weekend of 2006, the legend of Rucker Park was further immortalized with the advent of the first Elite 24 at Rucker Park Game. The game, conceived by Rise Magazine basketball gurus Kris Stone and Jim Kauffman, featured the top 24 high school players in the country, including Kevin Love, Michael Beasley, Lance Stephenson, Brandon Jennings, Kyle Singler, Jerryd Bayless, Donte Greene, and Tyreke Evans. It was the first HS All-Star game played, regardless of sneaker affiliation. The Elite 24 has since been made into a motion picture, Gunnin’ For That #1 Spot.
Currently the Rucker Pro Am represents the highest level of play on the courts.
The court is green with red paint. There are bleachers, but they are fairly run-down.
The park has seen many NBA and streetball legends such as Pee Wee Kirkland, Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Connie Hawkins, Julius Erving, Earl “The Goat” Manigault, Nate Archibald
Current and Former NBA players who have played at Rucker Park include:
Kobe Bryant AKA “Lord of the Rings” was given this name due to the fact he is the only NBA player to play at 155th after winning an NBA championship.
Kareem Reid, known as “The Best Kept Secret,” led Fat Joe‘s Terror Squad team to Rucker Park’s EBC championship in 2004. Although he never made the NBA, Reid has also won titles in the American Basketball Association with the Arkansas Rimrockers, and in the NBA Developmental League with the Asheville Altitude.
Past and present team owners include:
Rich from Posse
2. ^ Popper, Steve. “PRO BASKETBALL; Nets Win, but Challenging Trip Awaits”, The New York Times, January 18, 2003. Accessed October 7, 2007. “With the Rucker Park legend Rafer Alston now the biggest attraction for Toronto, the Nets’ only moments of suspense came when they attempted to compile their own mix of highlights.”
3. ^ Jamaal Tinsley Interview, Inside Hoops, January 7, 2005. Accessed October 7, 2007. “InsideHoops.com: In your high school years, out of the gym, which parks were you playing at? Jamaal Tinsley: Everywhere. West 4th. 68th, the Pro-Am tournament. Rucker. Soul in the Hole. That’s it, mainly, in New York City.”
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