Rucker Park is a basketball court in the Harlem neighborhood of the New York City borough of Manhattan, at 155th Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard across the street from the former Polo Grounds site. Many who played at the park in the Rucker Tournament achieved a level of fame for their abilities, and several have gone on to play in the NBA.
The court is named after Harlem teacher and playground director for the New York City Parks Department Holcombe L. Rucker, who started a basketball tournament in 1950 in order to help less-fortunate kids stay off the streets and aim for college careers. The players in the Rucker Tournament featured slam dunks, crossover dribbles, and bravado that excited the crowd, a playing style then foreign to the National Basketball Association (NBA).
The original court on which Rucker founded his tournament actually is on 7th Avenue between 128th and 129th streets in New York.
Although many professional basketball players have played at the court after gaining prominence, many others developed their basketball skills at Rucker prior to becoming notable in the sport, including the following:
- Earl Manigault
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
- Rafer Alston
- Kenny Anderson
- Nate Archibald
- Sylvester Blye
- Wilt Chamberlain
- Julius "Dr. J" Erving
- Connie Hawkins
- Jumpin Jackie Jackson
- Jamal Mashburn
- Earl Monroe
- Chris Mullin
- Lance Stephenson
- Jamaal Tinsley
- Satch Sanders
- History in the Making at Rucker's Park
- Nunyo, DeMasio (August 21, 1995). "Carrying On an Asphalt Legacy". The New York Times. Retrieved October 6, 2007.
- Pomerantz, Gary M. (2005). Wilt, 1962: The Night of 100 Points and the Dawn of a New Era. New York: Crown. p. 123–4. ISBN 1-4000-5160-6.
- Steve, Popper (January 18, 2003). "Nets Win, but Challenging Trip Awaits". The New York Times. Retrieved 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."
- Zengerie, Jason (April 15, 2009). "Empty Garden: Why did New York stop growing basketball stars?". The New Republic. Retrieved June 28, 2010.
- "Connie Hawkins: Thoughts on Wilt". Retrieved 2009-07-03.
- Mallozzi, Vincent M. (June 24, 2007). "His Eyes Have Seen the Glory of Rucker Park". The New York Times. Retrieved June 28, 2010.
- . June 24, 2007 http://www.basketball.org/courts/new-york/rucker-park/. Retrieved June 28, 2010. Missing or empty
- 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."
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Rucker Park.|
- Official home page
- Court profile of Rucker Park basketball court
- Photo gallery: Hopefuls Tryout for Rucker Park Basketball Tournament