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The Resurrection of Rucker Park

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  • The Resurrection of Rucker Park

    "I think it's a great tribute to the people who come to support the game of basketball,” fellow Hall-of-Famer Nate "Tiny" Archibald said. “You talk about the legends, past and also present, to come here. This is probably the most historical park in the world."

    For decades, professional players would compete with amateurs in tournaments at the park. And there were plenty of celebrity games, known as the Entertainers Classic.

    "Summertime ain't summertime without Rucker Park. It has been an honor for me to coach here,” rapper Fat Joe said. “Eight years, I won seven championships.”

    In August, the players’ union announced it had joined with the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation, among others, to give the court a substantial face-lift that would cost $520,000 and to create a recreation position for Rucker Park and the nearby Jackie Robinson Recreation Center.

    Holcombe Rucker, a playground director, established a youth basketball league and summer tournament nearly 70 years ago to keep children away from temptation even as others warned him to disregard a sport designed for the winter.

    Rucker mentored children, building a program from scratch, always keeping his busy schedule in his pocket. As his tournament gained in popularity and the Rucker League transformed into a summer pro-am, Rucker managed his connections to secure hundreds of college scholarships for the teenagers he viewed as students before athletes.

    He died of cancer in 1965 before he turned 40. The park was renamed after him as the Holcombe Rucker Playground in 1974. It’s commonly referred to as Rucker Park or just the Rucker.
    The GUB Resource Library: Links to: Stats, Blogs, Brackets, & More. . .

    “They go to school. They do their homework. They shake hands. They say please and thank you. But once you throw that ball up, they will rip your heart out and watch you bleed.” -- Jay Bilas

  • #2
    That place is basketball's "Field of Dreams".

    You can almost envision the legends walking out of the nearby projects and entering the court.