Playground Legends: 10 Best NBA Players at Rucker Park
Holcombe Rucker Park is famously known for producing some of the greatest basketball talent that the world has ever seen. With the NBA currently in the lockout, the stars of the NBA are finding places to play this summer, and many of them are taking their talents to Rucker Park. Just last week, Kevin Durant poured in 66 points in a win for his team.
The court is named after Harlem teacher and playground director for the New York City Parks Department, Holcombe L. Rucker. Holcombe started a basketball tournament in 1950 in order to help less fortunate kids stay off the streets and aim for college careers. Now it is home to NBA stars and some of the best high school talent in the country.
Looking at all of the legends that have played on this court, it would be a week-long job to construct a list of the best of the best to play here. Instead, I have decided to list the 10 best NBA players to have ever played at this famous venue.
10. Stephon Marbury
Still known to most fans as "Starbury," Stephon was one of the best point guards to ever come out of New York. He played high school ball at Abraham Lincoln HS, which is a powerhouse at that level. He may have fizzled out of the NBA, but he was a force to be reckoned with at Rucker Park.
9. Vince Carter
While Carter only played at Rucker twice, he did have one of the most amazing alley-oop windmill dunks that has ever been seen there. This shouldn't come as a surprise, given his "Half man, half amazing" nickname.
Carter has not only had a great NBA career full of highlights, but he also has the right to claim one of the best plays ever at Rucker.
8. Rafer Alston
Known to some only as "Skip to my Lou," Rafer was one of the most respected players at Rucker Park. His ball-handling skills impressed everyone, and his moves would embarrass his opponents.
Even "Starbury" himself calls Alston one of the greatest players to ever play at Rucker. He has played for six teams in the NBA, but will always be known for his amazing streetball skills.
7. Kevin Durant
Yes, Durantula's 66-point effort has been well documented this past week. While other NBA players like Michael Beasley and Matt Barnes were busy punching heckling fans and players, Durant was just out there lighting it up for the crowd.
Durant loves to play the game, and he has a great way of involving and embracing the fans. The fans at Rucker are thrilled that he keeps coming back.
6. Julius Erving
Dr. J. was one of the greatest players to ever play in the NBA. He had his jersey retired by two different franchises.
Unfortunately for him, he found his match at Rucker in a 1971 game against Joe "The Destroyer" Hammond. Not only did Erving's team lose the game, but Hammond reportedly scored 50 points on the Doctor, in just one half of play.
5. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Kareem had some intense battles with some of the other big men in the NBA. It was at Rucker Park though, that he said he had his toughest battle.
He took on future NBA legend Earl "Black Jesus" Monroe there, and was exhausted after the game. That would have been a great matchup to watch in person.
4. Wilt Chamberlain
One of Wilt's legendary Rucker stories involved a game when they didn't have nets on the rims. According to sources, he dunked the ball so hard, it went through the rim, slammed off of the pavement, and went over a 15-foot fence.
By the time someone went and retrieved the ball and play resumed, the goal was still shaking from his jam.
3. Kobe Bryant
In 2002 Kobe took to the legendary court, and became known as "Three Rings" at the time. Despite being double teamed and bad weather conditions, Kobe still managed to post 15 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists before the game was called off due to the weather.
2. LeBron James
LeBron played for Jay-Z's team S. Carter in 2003 at Rucker Park. There he played on the same team as Lamar Odom, Jamal Crawford and Sebastian Telfair.
The team was one of the best to ever play at Rucker, and James was a big reason why.
1. Allen Iverson
Coming out of Georgetown, "The Answer" racked up four NBA scoring titles, 11 All-Star selections, as well as the ROY award and a league MVP trophy. It should be no surprise that he was an electric player on the court at Rucker.
Iverson is probably the ideal type of player to excel in these type of games. His one-on-one style of basketball was virtually unstoppable.