A picture of Representative Charles B. Rangel
Charles R.
Democrat NY 13

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  • Celebrating the 50Th Anniversary of the Rucker Pro Legends & Holcombe Rucker Park

    by Representative Charles B. Rangel

    Posted on 2015-12-18

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    RANGEL of new york in the house of representatives Friday, December 18, 2015 Mr. RANGEL. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Holcombe Rucker Park; and the legacy, and work of The Rucker Pro Legends of Basketball fame, a dynamic organization and an excellent community service provider. On Friday, August 14th [[Page E1845]] through Sunday, August 16th, 2015, at the nationally and internationally known Holcombe Rucker Park located in the Village of Harlem, New York City; The Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce, HARLEM WEEK, The National Association of Each One Teach One, The Harlem Professionals and The New York Knicks had gathered to celebrate The Rucker Pro Legends of Basketball's successes, years of influence, as well as their current and old talents.

    The three-day themed celebration was set to highlight all the great work of athletes and their years of influence. The Rucker Park 50 kicked-off on Friday, August 14th with ``A Great Day For the Rucker'' Cocktail Party reception at The Harlem Hospital Center's Mural Pavilion featuring a historic group photo shoot that was taken on the Mural Pavilion Great Steps with the Rucker Pro Legends of Basketball and Each One Teach One Alumnus who played the game. On Saturday, August 15th, the theme featured ``50 Years of Influence''--The Rucker Legends Honored National Basketball Association (NBA) Legends at Holcombe Rucker Park, located at 155th Street & 8th Avenue to 156th Street & Harlem River Drive. The National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA), NBA Cares and the Police Athletic League (PAL) conducted basketball clinics for over 100 children with the Rucker Pro Legends; which featured Each One Teach One Tournament Playoff Games throughout the day with celebrity guests and entertainers connected to Rucker Park over the years in attendance.

    On Harlem Day--Sunday, August 16th, the theme features ``50 Years of Teaching''--Each One Teach One & New York Knicks Clinic Day at Holcombe Rucker Park. The New York Knicks and the National Association of Each One Teach One conducted clinics throughout the day. One of the clinics included the Each One Teach One Basketball Tournament Championship Games sponsored in part by State Farm Insurance Company. During this event the ``50 Greatest Rucker Pro Legends of All-time'' were announced. Some of the legends that attended the 3-day celebrations were Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Julius ``Dr. J'' Erving, Nate ``Tiny'' Archibald, Tom ``Satch'' Sanders, Nevil Shed, Nancy Lieberman, World B. Free, Richard ``Pee Wee'' Kirkland, Joe ``The Destroyer'' Hammond, Dave Cowans, Bob Love, Emmette Bryant, Connie Hawkins, Ed Pinckey, Mark Jackson, Chris Mullins and many other legends of basketball and surprise guests.

    The Rucker Professional Tournament is a Harlem Summer Professional Basketball Tournament that was founded by College and NBA Legends Bob McCullough, Sr. and Fred Crawford, Sr. in 1965 to honor the passing of their mentor Holcombe Rucker. Bob's and Fred's main objectives were to continue Holcombe Rucker's work, teachings and legacy and to inspire youth throughout the greater Harlem community and beyond, which showcased professional basketball players from leagues around country to highlight the sport of basketball talent in the same vein as its creator James Naismith. Those leagues included the former American Basketball Association (ABA), Continental Basketball Association (CBA) and the NBA. The games also featured future talented High School ballers and NCAA College Division players. A basketball landmark, Rucker Park became the site of numerous battles between such NBA stars as Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Dr. ``J'' Julius Erving, and Walt Frazier, and such playground Legends as Herman ``Helicopter'' Knowings, Earl Manigualt, Joe ``The Destroyer'' Hammond, ``Pee Wee'' Kirkland and Pablo Robertson of The Harlem Globetrotters. Furthermore, this renowned basketball venue has been written in such books as City Game: Basketball from the Garden to the Playground in Harlem. Foul--The Connie Hawkins Story, and Asphalt Gods: An Oral History of The Rucker Tournament.

    Mr. Speaker, I ask that you and my distinguished colleagues join me in recognizing the 50th anniversary of Holcombe Rucker Park and The Rucker Pro Legends of Basketball fame. The Rucker Pro Legends have positively impacted basketball players and children of all ages. Their dedication to their art form; to showcase and celebrate the talents of their current, past and future peers and colleagues; and to the children is truly admirable. This three day celebration embodied all that The Rucker Pro Legends stand for; for this we should continue to honor the legacy of Holcombe Rucker and the Rucker Park Legends of Basketball.


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