Rucker Park is a basketball court in Harlem, Manhattan, New York City, at 155th Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard across the street from the former Polo Grounds site; it is geographically at the base of a large cliff named Coogan's Bluff. 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 Holcombe Rucker, a local teacher and a playground director for the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. Rucker 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).
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:
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
- Rafer Alston
- Kenny Anderson
- Nate Archibald
- Metta World Peace
- Sylvester Blye
- Wilt Chamberlain
- Julius "Dr. J" Erving
- Connie Hawkins
- Kyrie Irving
- Jumpin Jackie Jackson
- Earl Manigault
- Stephon Marbury
- Jamal Mashburn
- Earl Monroe
- Chris Mullin
- Satch Sanders
- Lance Stephenson
- Sebastian Telfair
- Jamaal Tinsley
- History in the Making at Rucker's Park Archived June 16, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
- 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. pp. 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.
- Mallozzi, Vincent M. (2003). Asphalt Gods: An Oral History of the Rucker Tournament. New York: Knopf Doubleday. Retrieved March 9, 2016.
- "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.
- No Name. "Playground Legends: 10 Best NBA Players at Rucker Park". Bleacher Report.
- "Rucker Park". Basketball.org. June 24, 2007. Retrieved June 28, 2010.
- via YouTube. "NBA Players At Rucker Park". SI.com.
- 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 website
- Court profile of Rucker Park basketball court
- Photo gallery: Hopefuls Tryout for Rucker Park Basketball Tournament