#Rucker 50

Monday, April 24th, 6:30pm

Maysles Cinema, Third World Newsreel  and the Documentary Forum at CCNY Present:

@ City College Center for Performing Arts
160 Convent Avenue (Marian Anderson Theatre)
Robert McCullough Jr. and Darryl L. Neverson, 2016, 54 min.

Malcolm X stated, “History is a people’s memory, and without a memory, man is demoted to the lower animals.”  The Rucker celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in 2015 in and to mark the milestone directors Robert McCullough Jr. – the son of the founder of the Rucker, Robert McCullough Sr. along with Holcombe Rucker (March 2, 1926 – March 20, 1965) – and Darryl L. Neverson, wrote and directed the film #Rucker50 to chronicle its contributions to the game of basketball, but also to acknowledges its place in American culture. Set against a backdrop of the civil rights movement, the Rucker league became part of the movement. It influenced African-American empowerment, and Hip-Hop music and culture. During an era of urban blight and “white flight” from the inner cities, the league helped to re-establish and redefine Harlem as the epicenter of Black culture.
From the beginning in 1965 the tournaments changed the game of basketball forever. As Bblack athletes rose to prominence and influence in all areas of sports The Rucker brought the hard fighting “in your face” street style off the Harlem streets and on to the NBA courts. Professional and street – ballers came together and brought their oft-times flamboyant one-upmanship to the courts to the delight of the crowds (a crowd that could be as enthusiastic and as critical as any Apollo amateur night audience).

Pro basketball players (from decades past), Civil Rights activists, Harlem residents, musicians, Rucker players and spectators who witnessed the games are all interviewed in #Rucker50. The film is a testament to the resilient spirit of the Americans of African descent and demonstrates the inclusive nature and inherent camaraderie of competitive sports. The tournament’s only requirement was talent; it offers opportunities to men, women, and athletes of all races, creeds or color.

Q&A with Rucker tournament founder Robert McCullough Sr., directors Robert McCullough Jr and Darryl L. Neverson, and NYC street-ball and NBA All-Star legend Kenny Anderson, and subject of upcoming documentary Mr. Chibbs.

7 thoughts on “#Rucker 50

  1. This is a piece of history. Rucker Park is a place that has witnessed some of the most exciting basketball ever played. Gifted athletes showed moves that weren’t seen on NBA courts for years. Players like Earl “The Goat” Manigault, Eddie Simmons, Connie Hawkins, Herman “Helicopter” Knowlings, Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, Julius “The Claw” Erving, Nate “The Skate” Archibald, Fly Williams and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar created excitement that is still talked about in NYC. Even the greatest player in NBA history played at Rucker – Wilt Chamberlain. When Julius Erving brought his moves from Roosevelt, LI to Rucker in the 1960s he blew more minds than LSD. Later, as legend Dr. J kids climbed trees, walls, buildings – whatever gave them a view of the most exciting player in the game. Some players made it to the Basketball Hall of Fame, some are remembered only in the streets.

    • By the sounds of your comment you have spent some time visiting Rucker Park. Years ago i got a chance to spend a week at Rucker Park and showcase my skills. Rucker Park is a basketball lovers dream.
      Some of the greatest basketball players never played in the NBA.

  2. Nice. I wasn’t that good but my game was definitely playground style and intense defense. I was influenced by Walt “Clyde” Frazier on defense and Earl Monroe on offense with a hint of Pistol Pete Maravich. Thanks for the link.

    Panther Love.

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