Tuesday, August 18, 2015

NYDLBALL.com 3x3 at Rucker Pros 50th Celebration at Rucker Park, NYC

50TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
DURING 
HARLEM WEEK 2015 

Masters athletes from North Carolina, Puerto Rico, Canada,
Florida, Ohio and New York assemble at Rucker Park for
3x3 Masters competition.
 
NY Knicks/NBA Cares Basketball Clinic
It was one of those memorable events where right
in the middle of the action you ask yourself, "Is this
really happening? Or Am I Dreaming?" The Rucker
Pro Legends and The National Association of 
Each One Teach One, produced 
a remarkable, once in a lifetime, Harlem
Hoop Event that was a "Who's Who?" of
New York Basketball History.  It was billed as
the 50th Anniversary of the Rucker Pro
Tournament, with more legends in
attendance than points on the scoreboard.
This is Rucker Park. Rucker History.
This is where New York City street-ball
went head to head with NBA pros...And just
like the Apollo Theatre, "Where dreams are
born, and Legends are made."
The event took place over a four day period
at various restaurants and civic buildings.
including Harlem Hospital and the Adam
Clayton Powell State Office Building.  But
before we go into the four day event, let
me back-track a bit and express some of
the very important back story.   

Staten Island Drum Line at Rucker

[1] The Planning Session[s]

[June 2015] I get to the J.H.S. 45, the
John S. Roberts School on
a hot afternoon, in the shadow of the Wagner
Houses. I can't help but think about the
many war stories I've heard over the years
about the amazing Easter Tournaments
that were held here in the sixties and seventies.
I remember hearing about the battles with
players from P.S. 18 [Bronx] going head
to head with Harlem's finest at Wagner.
Mike Gordon. Funny Kitt. Boobie Green.
Gus Palmer. Myles Dorch. Tiny Archibald.
Bagdad. The Goat. Spivey. Larry Newbold.
The players had unique nicknames like Pickles,
Gumby, Gator, Bum, Sundance, The Destroyer, 
Zorro, Bouncy and The Durango Kid.   And I'm
sure he was there, without even asking...
Bob McCullough Sr. You can't talk about the
Wagner Center tournaments without
mentioning Mr. Howie Evans. He was
a driving force in New York City community
sports, education and sports journalism. 

This school is a grand structure with a nice
sized basketball court with wooden
bleachers running along the uptown side of
the gym.  The large school host salsa classes
for adults, and after-school programming
for the children of East Harlem. 
The building boast that it also has
an Olympic sized pool, and Olympic
sized dreams for the future.  Today's
meeting is with the Administrative Planning
Committee of the Rucker Pros, The
Harlem Pro Legends, for The 50th
Anniversary of the Rucker Pros Celebration
that is to take place in two months.
After signing into the building
I walk through the busy hallways,
buzzing with teenagers.  I dodge slightly
left and right as a losing senior division team
is leaving the gym with their very large trophies. 
I can tell they lost the game by their slumped
shoulders and the angle of their slightly tilted
foreheads pointed towards the hallway walls.
Nobody is smiling.  "Good Game Fellas!"
They stare and walk past me.  The short guard
give me a short nod of the head and a quick
smile, and then he stares at the trophy that's
almost too big for him to carry.
Almost every time I come into this
building there is a tournament ending.
Between El Faro and Each One Teach One they
must average at least two or three tournaments a
month.  If you want to compete in NYC...this
is the proving ground.  This is where it's still
happening, after all these years. 
So I'm sitting on the side of the long wooden
table in the common space of a small, cluttered 
office.  Young staff members flow in and out of
the open door, unannounced with a variety
of issues that are calmly addressed by
Mr. Bob McCullough.  I am seated directly
across from him.  To my left is Darryl Neverson,
and to my right is Bob McCullough Jr.  This is the
dynamic duo known as the Harlem Pros.  They 
make one heck of a media back-court.  They get
the job done, producing documentary films,
creating media campaigns, etc...etc...They turn water
into wine.  It doesn't take much time for the fire
works to fly once the meeting began.
Issues and concepts for Rucker 50 were 
dished, passed and blocked at an accelerated
rate. I tried to keep notes, but I was better off
waiting to see if the idea was rejected at the rim
before I wrote it down.  This is how it happens.
This is one stop shopping for an open book lesson
in community activism, and social engagement.
This is how things get done in Harlem.  You've
got an idea, you've got a concept.  OK,
stand up here and lets hear it.  You need help
right, or you wouldn't be here?  So explain what
you want to do, and how you're gonna do it.
This "Think Tank" will quickly make an assessment
of what needs to be done and the best process
for it to actually happen.  There are no shortcuts.
And if you can't explain it, or if you can't take
criticism then stop wasting our time, and get
up out of here.  Each One Teach One meetings are
short, animated, and productive.  There were a
few administrative members who were not
present, including George Ball and NBA Bingo,
who were still holding court with a gym full of
people as another age division was battling on
the court for the extra large statues.  In the weeks
to come I came to realize that this great
organization, with at least fifty years of
experience and success in the game, had more
movable pieces, and networks, than the Pelham
local that rattles underground on 125 Street. 
This is but one of a dozen committees, one of
what I imagine had to be dozens of meetings...
The sheer logistics of it all...scheduling, 
transportation, planning, agreements,
teams, uniforms, referees, security,
photographers, food, beverage, sound
systems, announcers, banners and signs,
t-shirts, paid staff, volunteer staff, phone
calls, presentations, awards, speeches,
press releases, radio and television, 
meetings, contracts, etc, etc, etc...
Social issues. Political concerns. 
Economic realities. 
 All in support of the celebration of Rucker 50...
All in support of Each One Teach One...
All in support of the people of Harlem...
All in support of Bob McCullough.
All in support of 50 years of service to
the New York City community. 
Job well done...and to this day it continues.

[2] Prime One16 Restaurant
By the time I pulled up to the building, the
crowd was already a buzz with hot flashbulbs, 
warm smiles, and enough hugs to save the hood.  


At the Harlem celebration [L-R] Corey Wise, NY State Assemblyman Keith Wright,
Joe Hammond, Bob McCullogh Sr., Manager of Prime One16 Restaurant, Richard
"Pee-Wee" Kirkland, & [seated in chair] Cal Ramsey [NY Knicks]
Photos by Bruce Moore  looosestudions@gmail.com
 
Many in attendance had not seen one another 
in some time. Many of these great basketball veterans
had been enemy combatants of one another
on the court many, many, years ago.
They all seem to have mellowed with time,
perspective and maturity.  One of the great
aspects of what I witnessed at the Rucker Pros 50th
reception, at the Prime One16 Restaurant, was the
sincere, inter-generational experience.   


It was like a baton being successfully passed from one generation to another.   


I look across the room to my left
and I see Joe Hammond talking with Corky Ortiz
and Tyler MVP from the Puerto Rican Pro Legends.
I look to my right and I see Pee Wee Kirkland being
interviewed on camera by some children with busy
note pads, video cameras and microphones.  Behind
me I see Bob McCullough Sr., a man who constantly
moves without the ball, huddled for a  moment
with Santos Negron [P.R. Pro Legends] and Bob Jr.[Rucker Pros]


Mr. Bob McCullough Sr. holds court at the Rucker 50th Press
conference at the Prime One 16 Restaurant in East Harlem.
Photo by Bruce Moore  looosestudions@gmail.com 

Many of the 50 Greatest Players 
who have competed at the Rucker Pros
were present and were celebrated by the
community for their efforts and accomplishments
from many years ago.  After the photos and the
passing of beverages, it was story time.  Several
of those Rucker Legends in attendance shared their
humorous battle stories of who did what, when,
where and why it was done.
 
Harlem Legends [L-R] Hawthorne Wingo [Knicks], seated Cal Ramsey [Knicks], Assemblyman Perkins, the Mayor of Millbank Center.

[L-R] Tony Greer Sr, Bob McCullough Sr, Assemblyman Keith Wright,
Fred Crawford [Knicks/Lakers], Jackie Jackson [Globetrotters]
Photos by Bruce Moore  looosestudions@gmail.com

Johnny Mathis [not the singer], Tony Greer Sr., 
Fred Crawford, Bill Willoughby, Bernard Harden, 
Hawthorne Wingo were all in attendance, huddled 
under the wine red and white canopy of the elegant 
One16 Restaurant.  Before the delicious lunch was 
served Bob McCullough Sr. moderated the  
introductions of local public officials, former 
Rucker coaches and contributors to the game.  
This was just the first stop in the four day 
celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the 
Rucker Pro Tournament.

  
[3] Fatboy, Chubby, Nanny, Fudd & Marvin
I grew up on 143 Street, in the Bronx, between
Morris and 3rd Avenues.  Originally we lived in
building 281 on the first floor in apartment 1E.  
From our kitchen, living room and bedroom 
windows, in front of the building, 
I could hear the basketballs bouncing off  the 
four half moon backboards in the square. 
My next door neighbors to our left was the Green
family. The boys were Artie, Andre, and Gerald.
[Many years later came Chris]  Andre was my first
friend.  We were born ten days apart. We
ran foot races, and explored the project sidewalks
together. Even as toddlers we ran from the police,
when we dared to play on the grass around our building.
If you got caught playing in the grass you got a $25.00 
fine and a behind whipping from your parents. I still
think the whipping was the worst end of it.

Me and Andre had over 100 fights.  50 fights with each
other and 50 together against the rest of the world.
A few years later, across the hall, a skinny kid who 
could run as fast as me and Andre moved into 
the building with his little brother.  His name 
was Angel Cruz. Angelo Crus in BSN Puerto Rico 


We had a neighborhood of great athletes, and some 
where also great artist, musicians, and exceptional
students. To this very day I strive to be a card
carrying member of each of these categories. 
I never had to look far to find remarkable ballplayers.
When you grow up in a community of
exceptional athletes, you do a lot of watching.
Not only were the older players on my block
ahead of the talent curve, so was the players my age.
So that meant I had to quickly calculate some basic math...
If I were one of eleven players in the park, and they
wanted to run a full court game...I had next.
If they were playing three on three, and someone
had next, and was waiting to pick his team...I
usually had next after him.  So for those wonder
years, right up until high school...I did a lot of
watching.  And a whole lot of studying. To this day
I slyly watch opposing teams, and players from
the time they walk into the gym till until the layup 
line is over.  Where do they shoot from? Are they
left handed or right? Did he stretch? Is he in shape?
Is he wearing a brace, and how is he interacting with
his teammates? Selfish? From my old hood, I can
still tell you about the playing styles, and habits
of just about every ballplayer that was
out there back then. Where they want the ball?
I can tell you their attitudes, intensity, and
their patented moves to the hoop. I felt then,
as I do know, that I have to observe good players
because it's usually my job to try my very best
to defend them.

As I mentioned Artie Green [Morris H.S.] lived
next door.  Artie, 6'4" large than life, lefty, hard
worker, tenacious rebounder, defender, and
scorer. Strong as hell.  Artie was a great ball
handler, and not only could body you, he had
the quickness and ball handling of smaller player.
Offensively, Artie could muscle through you,
blow by you, or jump over you. How you want it?
Artie Green PSAL All City at Morris H.S. Bronx, NY

Allen Jones and his little brother
Big Bob "Boogie" Jones [LIU] lived up on the


13th floor. Allen Jones Europe/USA  The Jones
brothers were showman. Entertainers, that
could score, defend, and rebound with the
flash and flare of the Motown Revue.  I still
remember Allen hitting fade away jumpers
from the corner and falling into the screaming
crowd, at a City-Wide Championship game at
Brandeis HS.  Bob had a great handle with
the ball, large frame, over 6'5" and had
the quickness, and basketball trickery of
a player half his size.  Ray Hodge was a 
blur, fundamentally sound, and had an
economy of movement...Quicker than most, 
Ray fully developed a personal signature
and process of scoring an abundance of
buckets without too much "dancing."
Ray gave excellent advice to any younger
ballplayer who would listen.  Had a great 
command of the game, and was very patient
with myself and others developing players. 
Till this very day Ray's name is echoed in the 
Wagner College Record books.


Nate Tiny Archibald lived in the building directly 
behind ours, in that building that took no 
prisoners...414.  Who is Tiny Archibald? 


Even as a toddler we were warned, "Don't go back there!
Stay here in front of the building!"  Did me
and Andre listen? Of course not...and 
what happened when we went back there?
 Tiny's Kansas City Kings card

If I remember correctly...Hmm let me see...
What happened? Got my ass kicked. It
wouldn't be my last fight on the block.
Playing ball, making friends, studying,
fighting, learning how to get along, were
all a part of growing up in NYC. Ivan from the Block

In Patterson Houses there was also
Bubba Dukes, Eddie Gaylord, the Doward brothers,
another set of 3 Green brothers [Boobie, Sonny
and Garry].  Calvin Graham played for the
Pittsburgh Pipers of the ABA.
What is the ABA?

Phillip Kydd, and Carmelo Rosa lived in building 
315 on the opposite side of the basketball court, 
past the rent office.  They were two of the nicest 
guys in the world.  Both would dunk on you, knock 
you down, and help you up off the floor. Phillip Kydd Rhode Island 
Carmello Rosa, Angel Cruz & George Torres played in P.R.
To this day, people still talk about how
Eric Russell [DeWitt Clinton] stuck some
unfortunate guy on the upper corner of
the backboard in the PSAL playoff game 
in 1972 or 1973.  Russell and Andre Kaalund
lived in Tiny's building, and of course there
was Monk and Geronimo.  I liked Monk's game.
He was a trickster, and he could pass like
he had eyes in the back of his head.
 
On the other side of street there was the
dynamic Edwards brothers...Ervin,
Henry & Mike. Teddy Williams and his
brother Cliffy had plenty of game. Ted hit you
with stutter-steps and head fakes and Cliff
hit you with the low post muscle.  Ted

went south, just north of the border,to El Paso.
He was a great influence on many of the
younger players on our block. He was one
of the older brothers who took the time
to explain many of the details of hoops
and culture to a younger set of ears.

Even my man Iran Barkley could lace them up,
body you, and get buckets...We called him Ivan.

Ive was left hand all day...All night. He'd hit
you with the in and out twice, then the hesitation.
Then he would body you and half spin and come
back left strong to get his baskets.  Good footwork
and intensity, universally, works in and out of the ring.
 "The Champ" Iran Barkley

The entire building 360 Morris Ave had game.
The entire Bailey family could play their behinds 
off.  Greg Bailey was one of the many standouts 
on that side of the street. He had a gang of 
offensive moves, and nicknames.  Off the left hand 
dribble, he could score and play-make at will. 
We called him "Earl the Pearl" and "Oil" cause 
he was slick with the ball. He went to college
in South Carolina...Oil had the hard dribble
in and out to the left, once he got you going
he came back through his legs to his right and
could consistently nail the twenty-three footer.
Once he established that, once you closed out
on the jumper, he'd freeze you with the
funky dance and lay you to the basket.

Even in my own household, my older brother
Gus Palmer started on that great Franklyn H.S.
team with Earl Manigault, Spivey and Larry
Newbold.  Who is Earl Manigault?
Ben Franklyn is now Manhattan Center for Math Science H.S. in East Harem

So many years later, I had grown
to be the street mature player of ten
or eleven years old.  I had been hearing about
the Rucker tournament, and all of the great games
that were taking place across the bridge in Harlem. 
So one day I was in the park on the other side of
Patterson, not "The Square", on the downtown side of the
projects. Our family had grown, when my
brother Eddie was born, and we had moved
to a larger apartment in building 324 E. 143 St.
So I'm out there in the park playing ball with 
Fatboy, Chubby, Oil, Nanny, Eric Harris, Googy
Campbell and a couple of other players.  Big Marvin
Rogers and Fat Clarence [Davis] were our big
brothers out there.  They were at least five or ten
years older than us. They taught us alot about
life. Period.  Clarence Davis was one of the
funniest people in the neighborhood.  I think 
he could have went pro. A little Bill Cosby
and a lot of Bernie Mack.  Don't get into a
sounding battle with him.  That was comedic
suicide.  Clarence and Marvin broke up fights,
settled disputes and organized the neighborhood
tournaments, and talent shows with brother Omar
Skinner, and Big Elmer Singletary, 
after the community center had discontinued
doing such events.  Out of nowhere, everyone
was getting ready to walk over to Harlem to
go see Joe Hammond, Tiny and Pee Wee
play at the Rucker.  This was a big deal.
This was a major opportunity to go and
see these incredible players I had been
hearing those larger than life stories about.
I just had to go.  There had to be about twenty
people leaving the block in a bunch, to walk, what has
to be a few miles, to Rucker Park.  I knew I had
to tell my Pops that I was leaving the park...If
I had walked over to Harlem with my friends
without his permission I would not be here writing
this reflection on my "wonder years."  I asked
Big Marvin to wait a few minutes before they
moved out, so I could run upstairs to ask if
I could go.  Big Marvin said, "Hurry up
cause we got to get good seats.  Tiny is
playing against Millbank and the park is 
going to be packed."  I run up the stairs to 
apartment 5B, with the unlocked door, and 
asked "The Old Man", "Daddy can I go
to Harlem with my friends to see a
basketball game at the Rucker?"
      Dad removes his glasses, and looks up
from his newspaper, as he looks down at me.

 











Public School 18 & Clark JHS...Where great
ball was learned & played with great coaches
Floyd Layne, Bill Hill, Myles Dorch,
and Mr. Fox.

Mr. Clarence E. Woods Sr. was a no-nonsense,
old school, ex-military, strict disciplinarian
from Paducah, Kentucky.  I'm pretty sure he had
never heard of the Rucker Pro Tournament or 
Herman the Helicopter. There is a brief moment
of silence. Then  Dad says, "Hell No! Who the hell 
do you think is going to take you all the way to some 
G@# Damn Harlem and bring you back?" I don't miss 
a beat, "I said Fatboy, Nanny, Fat Clarence, Chubby
Big Marvin and Fudd are going. They're waiting
for me downstairs in the big park."  Fudd wasn't
even into basketball anymore, he had left our little crew
some time ago.  Fudd was making money, hustling,
selling shopping bags on 3rd Avenue and carrying
peoples groceries home from the market for tips.  
He lived upstairs from us, the Turner family, I 
knew I had to give Dad at least one familiar name 
to seal the deal.  All dad said was, "Go ahead and 
bring your little behind straight back home soon 
as that game is over.  You hear me boy? I don't
want to hear no nonsense out of you! And watch
out for those cars!"  "Yes Sir," I shouted as I made 
my way back towards the kitchen, and out the 
front door. Quickly down the steps, skipping half 
the steps, by jumping to the landings midway between
the floors.  I dart out the back door of the building
and when I get to the bottom of the steps to the
park...To my horror...The park for the most part was 
empty.  Everyone had left for a far away land to get 
pieces of a basketball dream, and to witness above
the rim dramatics in a park called Rucker.
Julius at the Rucker 

[4] Walt Clyde's Restaurant
New York City midtown traffic is brutal.  The
only thing more difficult than driving around
here is trying to find somewhere to park,
without getting robbed.  You want to talk about
crime in New York? Crime is when someone tries
to charge you fifty to sixty dollars to park in a
parking lot for an hour.  They're not going to 
wash your car and change the oil either.
$60 to park.  I finally find a reasonable
location to park, and I walk around the corner
to Walt Frazier's Restaurant.  I have to be honest,
when I walked in I was expecting Walt to be there
shooting free-throws on his indoor basketball
court inside the restaurant.  Never saw Walt.
I guess he was somewhere else, "swishing and
dishing." Walt in the 70's was the 'King of New York"
so on this hot summer day I give him a pass for
not being there.  


But, the place is great.  The décor is modern with
a touch of Clyde's fashion sense, making for
an elegant dining experience.  Forty-five minutes
before the event the place is packed.  Ball-players
from the playgrounds to the pros, and hoop fans
from Panama City to the Polo-grounds.  The first
person I run into is Bill Robinson [Baruch College]

In the hot "dog days of summer" Bill is everywhere.
Reunion games in the Bronx, Old Timers day in
Harlem.  He even hits the Brooklyn scene for many
of their veteran celebrations of life beyond basketball.

To be continued.....

[5] Rucker Park

[6] Harlem Hospital

[7] Adam Powell State Office Building
The 50 Greatest Players to ever play at Rucker Park @ Harlem State Office Building

[8] 3 on 3 Finals


[9] Can I get a Witness?
 
  The Still Here Basketball Team at Rucker Pros 50th

Comment by Bernard Braithwaite [Bronx, NY]
"I played in the NYDLBALL.com Masters 3 on 3 Tournament hosted by the most ambitious Lahh Woods with a crazy love for the game. There was a team from Canada, another from Ohio and the champion Puerto Rico Legends. The guys along with myself were on some kind amazing emotional high from being able to participate on the new and improved court. The 50 year old and above competition had a lot of flashbacks and use to do’s but mostly love for the game.  Much love to all for putting on a great event."

Bernard Braithwaite > bbbraithwaite@hotmail.com




 Comment by Chris Todd [Queens, NY]
"I would be amazed at the tournaments
it would host, the plays I would watch on highlight reels, 
and the legendary players that would showcase their talents 
on this legendary basketball stage. Also, to then learn the 
story of the ballers who had built the stage to a legendary 
status a couple of generations before, would be humbling. 
I'm talking of the stories of men like Richard "Pee-Wee" 
Kirkland, Joe "The Destroyer" Hammond, and Bobby "Zorro" Hunter. Just to see all of those guys in one place, which 
happens to be the same place all of them built a crucial part 
of both their legend, and the legend that is Rucker Park was 
nothing short of magical. The games on display were a 
great show as well.

Chris Todd  imaballtillifall@live.com

Comment by Gil Alvarez  [Staten Island, NY]
"#50 RUCKER PARK Anniversary Weekend
.....Amazing experience from 
the Reception on Friday at Harlem Hospital 
to the weekend festivities Saturday and Sunday...from 
the NBA youth basketball clinic to the High School 
games, very exciting young talent and competitiveness.
As well as the [NYDLBALL.com Masters 3 on 3 
Tournament hosted by Lahh Woods with teams coming 
in from out of state....capped of with the
Campos-Garvey Legends Game... Overall, Tremendous 
job by all involved from Bob McCollough to Santos 
Negron as well as Lahh Woods and staff
...Going forward I see this growing....especially 
the Masters 3 on 3"

Gil Alvarez <jazzy1695@yahoo.com


Comment by Ted Laan [Burlington, Canada]
"
Dear Lahh, I saw your Masters tournament rankings. 
For Little Teddy Laan, the Rucker Park 3 on 3 tournament 
was the single most wonderful event of any kind that I 
have ever attended (well, except for the birth of my 
kids and meeting Mili). Much Love, Ted"



Comment by Still Here Basketball Team [Medina, Ohio] 
"To our friend Lahh Woods. Please accept this Still Here 
Rucker Park personalized, reversible, jersey as a small
symbol of our great appreciation for your having included 
us in the FANTASTIC Rucker Park event. Mere words 
can barely express the great time we had, and the
respect we have for all you did to make this happen. 
We know it was a busy, challenging time for you, and 
you are to be commended for the outstanding job. 
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Your brothers from Still Here

Stillherebasketball@gmail.com


Madd, Madd Shout to Bob McCullough Sr. & 
Fred Crawford Sr., George Ball, 
Each One-Teach One, 
The Harlem Professionals,
Bob McCullough Jr., Darryl Neverson,
NBA Bingo, Harlem Hospital
Bobby Hunter, Joe Hammond,
Richard Pee Wee Kirkland,
Nate Tiny Archibald,
Albert King, Kenny Anderson,
Bill Willoughby, Emmit Bryant,
Walt Frazier,  Floyd Layne,
Hawthorne Wingo, Teresa Weatherspoon,
Santos Negron, Bill Perkins,
Staten Island Drum Line,
Billy Santos, NYDLBALL Staff,
Kool DJ Red Alert, Kurtis Blow,
Team Still Here, Team Canada,
New York Sugar Daddies,
The Puerto Rican Pro Legends,
and Team Alkebulan 

PHOTO CREDITS TO 
Paparoxxi Event Photography
888.325.1508  and NYDLBALL.com staffers



  Rich Hasfal aka "The Genie" leads Team Canada [Toronto] into
the playoffs vs Still Here [Medina, OH] in NYDLBALL Masters
3x3...Team Canada advances past Still Here by the score of 21-16. 


Mark Bruner [Still Here] gets a bucket in the low post against Jake McConnell 
[Team Canada] in front of Sunday's Rucker Park crowd.

                 Still Here [3rd Place Winners] with Rucker Park Top 50 Legends Joe 
                           Hammond & Bobby "Zorro" Hunter [Harlem Globetrotters]
                     Who is Joe Hammond?             Who is Bobby Zorro Hunter?
It was a rich weekend of Basketball Legends, Fans, Masters of the Game, Celebrities and where everyone was a star!  It was the 50th Anniversary of the Rucker Pro Tournament and the activities included several receptions, a Masters 3x3 Tournament [Age 55 & over] competitive games from High School age to the Semi-Pros.

             WNBA great Teresa Weatherspoon and Joe Hammond
aka The Destroyer take a shot with The New York Sugar
Daddies [55+] 3 on 3 Team. Who is Teresa Weatherspoon?   Miracle Shot
              Rucker Pro 50th Celebration at Harlem Hospital

Bob McCullough Sr. at the Rucker Pro 50th Who is Bob McCollough?
Anniversary celebration at Harlem Hospital, it was a well attended, inspirational, event that will not soon be forgotten.  

Joe Hammond, Bill Willoughby [NBA], Richard Pee-Wee Kirkland, NY State Senator Bill Perkins at the Rucker
50th Celebration.  Rucker Pros History
          
     
       Bob McCullough Jr.
Co-Hosting the Rucker Pro    
50th Celebration, prior to
the screening of his Harlem
Pro Rucker Legends Film.





The New York Knicks Basketball Clinic where all the
young ballers had a great time at Rucker Park.



The Notorious Street-ball Wizard...James "Speedy"
Williams instructs, and inspires, his young charges
to work hard, pay attention, and play smart. Who is Speedy Williams?


 
    VS
 Still Here & The NY Sugar Daddies battle for NYDLBALL.com 55+ Masters 3x3 Title


The Infamous Gene Ali Jennings [Syracuse, NY] pulls
up on Mark "The Shark" Brunner as The Sugar
Daddies [in white] loose in O.T. to Still Here[Ohio]



                       Visions of "Clyde" at the Rucker 50th Event at 
                   Walt Frazier's Restaurant, Midtown, NY
                              Who is Walt clyde Frazier?
                                             Walt vs Lakers



Accross 110 Street...Santos Negron [PR Pro Legends], Zack Husser [The 
Husser Group] and Lahh Woods [NYDLBALL.com]  



     First Annual NYDLBALL.com [AGE 55] 3X3 MASTERS at RUCKER PARK 
     with Kenny Anderson [NBA, white shirt center, over the ball] and Rucker 
     Legend Floyd "The Chief" Layne [Standing 2nd from Left] and George Ball, 
     Director of The National Association of Each One Teach One, and Harlem 
     Rucker Pro Legends [Standing 3rd from Left.]

         TEAM CANADA'S PLAYER/OWNER TEDDY "BEAR' LAAN AND LAHH WOODS

The game hung in the balance until The New York Sugar Daddies lose the 2015 
NYDLBALL Consolation Game to the Still Here Basketball Club, in Over-Time [26-22]


     Team Canada 
              vs 
  Puerto Rican Pro
              Legends



Ron "Stretch" Knect [Team Canada] plays ball control, and keep away vs 
The PR Pros, as the clock runs towards the final seconds in the 2015 
NYDLBALL.com Age 55+ Masters 3x3 Championship game.

Lahh Woods [L] [Puerto Rican Pro Legends] & Jake "The Snake" McConnell
[Team Canada] clash in New York Masters [55 +]  3x3 Championship Game. 


vs 



With the strength of an invading force The Puerto Rican 
Pro Legends compete with TEAM ALKEBULAN for the  
2015 CAMPOS-GARVEY LIBERATION CUP 
at RUCKER PARK, HARLEM-NYC.

 TEAM ALKEBULAN 2015 [NY/NJ/PA]

 TEAM ALKEBULAN [Motherland] took an early lead 
with an opening 3-ball from Lamar Singletary from 
downtown.  The  Puerto Rican Pros established 
themselves in the low post with several rebounds 
and easy put backs.  Midway through the first half, the
PR Pros begin a slow process of pulling away, with a
defensive scheme that sags into the paint daring
ALKEBULAN to nail a perimeter jumper.  ALKEBULAN
falls for the bait and can't hit the sides of the Polo Grounds
and the half-time score reflects a sixteen point deficit.
Before the half, a moment of "knuckleheadicity" set in
as elbows were raised, clearing the Puerto Rican Pro
bench with a rush of urban machismo.  Thank God
cooler heads prevailed, and Legendary PR Coach 
Santos removed the player who initiated the 
confrontation from the contest.  The Commissioner,
Rucker Pros Executive Director, Mr. Bob McCollough
Sr. and Director George Ball summoned both 
coaches, Santos Negron and Lahh Woods, to
half court and they were notified that the next
unscheduled interuption of positive, athletic, play
would officially end the celebratory Campos-Garvey
contest for 2015. That was the end of that, the
game resumed with fair and spirited play.

 
















           The second half became an uptempo dance when 
the Alkebulan team turned up the volume on the defensive, 
Adam Clayton Powell Blvd, end of the court.   The PR 
Pro ball handlers were taken out of rhythm, and after a 
series of turnovers and missed opportunities the 
comfortable, sixteen point halftime lead slowly 
evaporated. 

It was also interesting to note that this Puerto Rican Pro 
team, with no less than thirteen to fifteen serious, veteran,
ballers on its bench, only played about six or seven players.  
Why was that? With almost 3 minutes left in regulation the 
Puerto Rican Pros and TEAM ALKEBULAN were all 
knotted up at 62.

































TEAMALKEBULAN quickly called time out, and the 
smiling vet "Speedy Williams" sprints to the bench and 
proclaims, "There's no shot clock, we hold for the last 
shot!"  Does ALKEBULAN have the team patience, 
and team ball-handling skills to hold the ball for 
almost 3 minutes?  Besides, I know Coach Santos has 
a defensive scheme to get strong ball pressure on 
whatever is about to come their way. [Right?]

ALKEBULAN held the ball at half court in the steady
and able hands of James "Speedy" Williams and Charles
"Chew" Bostic with Williams with the ball as the Rucker
clock struck 10 seconds remaining. The entire park is
on their feet as Williams waits until there was six tics 
remaining as he flashed right and crossed back to his left, 
in a blur, and then elevates for the 3 ball just left at the 
top of the key extended...That shot goes in and out, 
and is tapped by ALKEBULAN big man Buck Nasty 
from the Poconos aka South Jamaica Funk.  Buck's tip 
comes off the back of the rim as the Puerto Rican Pro 
defenders seem to stand and watch as the smallest 
player on the court, the 5'11" DJ Voice slips in along 
the baseline and gently tip the ball into the air...as the 
buzzer sounds. A hush falls over the crowd, as the ball, 
ever so slowly...drops into the net. Pandemonium
erupts as the referee screams and motions, "BASKET
GOOD!" TEAM ALKEBULAN is crowned the 2015
Campos-Garvey Memorial Champions in Rucker Park
as the 50th Anniversary of the Rucker Pro Legends 
Celebration comes to a climatic end.  What a great
organization.  What a great celebration.  What a great game.


TEAM ALKEBULAN with Rucker Pro Legends
Bob McCollough [Rucker Pros & Each One Teach
One], Emmit Bryant [NBA] George Ball [Rucker
Pros], Lahh Woods [TEAM ALKEBULAN], 
Santos Negron [PR PRO LEGENDS]
and the coveted CAMPOS-GARVEY TROPHY

Final Score [64-62] in favor of TEAM ALKEBULAN


 

AMESEGENALLO, ASANTE SANA, MEDASE, AND THANKS TO...
THE RUCKER PRO LEGENDS, THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF EACH ONE 
TEACH ONE,THE HARLEM PROFESSIONALS, THE RUCKER PROS 50TH 
ANNIVERSARY  ORGANIZING COMMITTEE, HARLEM HOSPITAL, WALT 
FRAZIER'S RESTAURANT, ONE 16 RESTAURANT, HARLEM WEEK,
THE PUERTO RICAN PRO LEGENDS, THE ADAM POWELL STATE 
BUILDING, EACH ONE TEACH ONE TABLE STAFF, AND VOLUNTEERS,
THE NEW YORK KNICKS, THE NEW YORK LIBERTY, THE DAILY NEWS,
MR. BOB McCULLOUGH SR, MR. FRED CRAWFORD, 
MR. GEORGE BALL, MR. BOB McCULLOUGH JR, MR. BOBBY HUNTER, 
MR. DARRYL NEVERSON, MR. MARVIN McCULLOUGH, MR. SANTOS
NEGRON, MR. MALIK McCULLOUGH, MS. THERESA WHITHERSPOON,
MR. JOHN PUGH, MR. BILLY SANTOS, MR. NATE
"TINY"ARCHIBALD, MR. ALBERT KING, MR. KENNY ANDERSON,
NYDLBALL.com STAFF, MR. DAVID SANJURJO, MR. EDDIE WOODS,
MR. TED LAAN, MR. TONY GREENE, MR. MARK BRUNSON, 
MR. GEORGE CANTRES, BERNARD BRAITHWAITE, WBAI RADIO,
 MR WENDELL RANSOM, GIL ALVAREZ, MR. KOOL DJ RED ALERT,
MR. BASIR MCHAWE, KOMPFORT ZONE SOAPS, ELE WOODS AND
4PEACE QUILTED BAGS, AND THE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE OF HARLEM. 

Editors Note: Madd Madd Shout Out to Still Here, my brothers
and their families from Medina, Ohio for the gift of the custom jersey. We had a great weekend, playing ball, riding the
subways, and hanging out in Times Square. 
Yall Come On Back! Ya Hear! Peace.  LW





Still Here at NYC Hotel with the infamous Sugar Daddies...
Harlem Week...Night Life...Rucker Pros 50th @ Rucker Park...3x3...Good Times 2015









8 comments:

  1. There was some great games played that weekend. Madd Shout to Bob McCollough Sr., Fred Crawford, George Ball, Each One Teach One, and The Harlem Professionals for one heck of a Rucker Pro 50th Anniversary/Harlem Week Celebration. If you missed it...I kinda feel sorry for you. All the greats were in the house. I can say that I witnessed history and had the time of my life. Thank You All. TEAM ALKEBULAN

    ReplyDelete
  2. @NBABrothers were there at Prime One 16 and Clyde's Wine and Dine and Harlem Hospital doing interviews and coverage
    www.NBABrothers.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. The Medina Ohio Newspaper Reports on the Still Here [age 55+] 3 on 3 Team that participated in the NYDLBALL.com 3 on 3 Tournament during the Rucker Pros 50th Anniversary Event during Harlem Week 2015.
    http://medinagazette.northcoastnow.com/2015/08/26/still-here-basketball-gets-to-play-at-harlems-famed-rucker-park/

    ReplyDelete
  4. Chris Todd/NYDLBALL.com Contributor
    imaballtillifall@live.com

    The 50th Anniversary of the Rucker Pro Basketball Tournament was a
    great event for New York streetball's past, present, and most definitely
    it's future. I remember being a young baller over a thousand miles away,
    reading books and watching documentaries about Rucker Park. I would
    be amazed at the tournaments it would host, the plays I would watch
    on highlight reels, and the legendary players that would showcase
    their talents on this legendary basketball stage. Also, to then learn
    the story of the ballers who had built the stage to a legendary status
    a couple of generations before, would be humbling. I'm talking of the
    stories of men like Richard "Pee-Wee" Kirkland, Joe "The Destroyer"
    Hammond, and Bobby "Zorro" Hunter. Just to see all of those guys in
    one place, which happens to be the same place all of them built a
    crucial part of both their legend, and the legend that is Rucker Park
    was nothing short of magical. The games on display were a great
    show as well.

    A well played Junior Division game that previewed the positive future
    of NYC basketball...A friendly, physical, battle between the NYPD and
    the victorious young adult Each One Teach One team. A spirited High
    School Division Game showcasing Harlem's finest players who will
    soon be traveling to represent many of our nations major colleges.
    Capping off the night with Team Alkebulan [NY/NJ/PA] earning a 2
    point win over the Puerto Rican Pro Legends, at the buzzer, for the
    first time since their rivalry started several years ago.

    Chris Todd/NYDLBALL.com Contributor
    imaballtillifall@live.com

    ReplyDelete
  5. On Wednesday, September 2, 2015 1:02 PM,
    Gil Alvarez wrote:


    #50 RUCKER PARK Anniversary Weekend.....Amazing experience from the
    Reception on Friday at Harlem Hospital to the weekend festivities Saturday and Sunday...from the NBA youth basketball clinic to the High School games, very
    exciting young talent and competitiveness.
    As well as the [NYDLBALL.com Masters 3 on 3 Tournament hosted by
    Lahh Woods with teams coming in from out of state....capped of with the
    Campos-Garvey Legends Game... Overall Tremendous job by all involved
    from Bbo McCollough to Santos Negron as well as Lahh Woods and staff
    ...Going forward I see this growing....especially the Masters 3 on 3...

    Gil Alvarez <jazzy1695@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. The 50th Anniversary of the Rucker Pro Basketball Tournament was one of most wonderful experiences I’ve been a part of in my actually 50 years or so of playing basketball. A well planned and attended event. It was great to see and meet some of the legends and to hear all of the stories over the weekend. Afterwards I saw some of the pictures and comments on the internet and was amazed at the Rucker effect.

    I played in the NYDLBALL.com Masters 3 on 3 Tournament hosted by the most ambitious Lahh Wood with a crazy love for the game. There was a team from Canada, another from Ohio and the champion Puerto Rico Legends. The guys along with myself were on some kind amazing emotional high from being able to participate on the new and improved court. The 50 year old and above competition had a lot of flashbacks and use to do’s but mostly love for the game.

    Much love to all for putting on a great event.

    Bernard Braithwaite > bbbraithwaite@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  7. The following is a letter I received with a UPS package from Medina, OH.

    September 10, 2015

    To our friend Lahh Woods

    Please accept this Still Here Rucker Park personalized, reversible, jersey as a small
    symbol of our great appreciation for your having included us in the FANTASTIC
    Rucker Park event. Mere words can barely express the great time we had, and the
    respect we have for all you did to make this happen. We know it was a busy,
    challenging time for you, and you are to be commended for the outstanding job.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    Your brothers from Still Here

    [Still Here is one of the talented 55+ teams that I battled with at Buffalo Masters 2014.
    Not only are they great players, they are more importantly great individuals who
    are community minded in their movements. I thank them for joining us for the
    50th Anniversary 3x3 Masters event at Rucker, where they place 3rd. I am glad
    and honored to have them as my friends and my brothers.
    God Bless Still Here till we meet again. LW]


    ReplyDelete
  8. I got this great message today from Ted "The Bear" Laan [Team Canada] ...The
    Bear's 3 on 3 Team were finalist in the NYDLBALL 3x3 Event at the Rucker Pros
    50th Celebration @ Harlem Week 2015

    Dear Lahh,

    I saw your Masters tournament rankings. For Little Teddy Laan, the Rucker Park 3 on 3 tournament was the single most wonderful event of any kind that I have ever attended (well, except for the birth of my kids and meeting Mili).

    Much Love,

    Ted

    ReplyDelete