EBC Rucker Park

The Entertainers Basketball Classic at Rucker Park in Harlem, New York, is a street basketball tournament established in 1983. The EBC is considered the premier street basketball tournament in the world. [1]Spurred in large part by the unprecedented competition brought to the park by the EBC, And1 calls Rucker Park “the birth of streetball,” ESPN counts the park as one of its “Top 100 Sports Arenas in The World”,[2] and Bleacher Report has it nestled between Madison Square Garden in New York City and Wembley Stadium in London.[3] Current and former NBA basketball players who have participated in the EBC at Rucker Park include the likes of Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Kevin Durant. Many famous recording artists have also participated in the EBC as coaches, including P. Diddy, Jay-Z and Fat Joe. Among those who have been in attendance at the EBC are former President Bill Clinton, NBA Commissioner David Stern, actor Denzel Washington and business mogul and NBA owner Mark Cuban. The New York Times credits the Harlem Shake as originating from halftime entertainment during the EBC at Rucker Park.[4]


During the summer of 1982, up-and-coming hip-hop group The Crash Crew was on its way for an interview on Mr. Magic’s WHBI Radio Show. On the car ride to the studio, a member of another notable rap crew, the Disco 4, began discussing basketball. The two groups issued a challenge to one another. Another member of the Disco 4, Gregory Marius, who is today the CEO and Founder of the EBC at Rucker Park, stepped up and arranged for a game to be played between the two groups. Mr. Magic caught wind of the challenge, and announced to young hip-hop heads around the city on his radio broadcast later in the evening that the game was to be played the following day at Mount Morris Park, located on 120th street and Madison Avenue. Both groups showed up at the park stunned to see a crowd of hundreds. Among those in attendance were a number of notable rap groups, including the ColdCrush Brothers, the Sugarhill Gang, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious 5, and the Treacherous 3. The Disco 4 would go on to beat the Crash Crew by 59 points. More important, the first celebrity basketball game was established in Harlem. The following summer, the Entertainers Basketball Classic was held in Mount Morris Mark, with Seagram’s Dewars White Label as its primary sponsor. In 1985, the EBC moved to 139th street and Lenox Avenue. The tournament had now expanded, and featured some of the best collegiate and neighborhood basketball talent. In 1986, reigning NBA All-Star and Slam Dunk Contest champion Dominique Wilkins appeared at the tournament to judge the EBC Slam Dunk Contest. In 1987, the tournament moved to Rucker Park, located on 155th street and 8th Avenue, in order to accommodate crowds now reaching the thousands. In 1989, Cold Chillin Records became the first record company to sponsor the EBC, a monumental move and a predictor of trends to come. In 1990, both Def Jam and Uptown Records would sponsor the EBC as well. Five seasons later, in 1995, Reebok agreed to sponsor the tournament. That same summer, NBA rookie Joe Smith competed in the EBC at Rucker Park, marking the first ever No. 1 Overall NBA Draft selection to participate in the tournament. High School phenom Kevin Garnett would also appear that summer. Both Garnett and Smith played for a team sponsored by Bad Boy Records. One year later, during the summer of 1996, another No 1. Overall NBA Draft selection, Allen Iverson, would participate in the tournament, establishing the EBC as a hotbed for NBA talent. EBC announcer Al Cash would later point out that what made the EBC so special was its ability to provide such players as Iverson or Garnett to a inner-city youth which otherwise could not afford to see these players appear at Madison Square Garden. In 1998, the Bad Boy Records team would win the EBC Championship, coached by a young Puff Daddy and led by native New Yorker and future NBA All-Star Ron Artest.. In 1999, Turner Sports would release a documentary centered around Rucker Park and the EBC, “On Hollowed Ground,” which would go on to win an Emmy Award for Sports. In 2000, MTV filmed a 1-hour special on the EBC at Rucker Park, highlighting the marriage between the music industry (notably hip-hop) and basketball, which occurred at the park. In 2000, MSG Network also began broadcasting an EBC “Game of the Week.” In 2002, the National Basketball Association officially sanctioned the EBC. That same summer, former President of the United States Bill Clinton appeared at the park alongside NBA Commissioner David Stern. In 2004, ESPN broadcasted a television on the EBC at Rucker Park. 2004 also saw the debut of EBC America, in which a team from Los Angeles, led by then-New Orleans Hornets guard Baron Davis and featuring pros Gilbert Arenas, Trevor Ariza and rapper The Game was pitted against a New York team led by streetball legend Rafer Alston (Skip to My Lou). Over the next few seasons, a number of major sponsors would align themselves with the EBC, including Gatorade and Pepsi. In 2010, Nike brought the World Basketball Festival to Rucker Park, in which Michael Jordan, Carmelo Anthony and Dwayne Wadetook part.[5] In 2011, reigning NBA Scoring Champ Kevin Durant appeared at the EBC.[6] Durant would go on to score 66 points in the sole game he played, two points shy of the all-time EBC scoring record, held by Steve Burtt Jr.[7] In 2012, EBC signed a sponsorship deal with AT&T, providing the stage for the mobile carrier to launch its program that made WiFi service available for free in public parks.

2003: The Blackout

The 2003 EBC Season is widely considered to be the best in EBC History, as a record amount of NBA players and celebrities took part in the festivities. The buzz that would fill Rucker Park throughout the summer of 2003 was set early, when Jay-Z announced that he would be entering a team worthy of challenging the defending EBC champs, coached by Fat Joe and named the Terror Squad. In his debut at Rucker Park, Jay-Z entered with then 18 year-old phenom LeBron James, but did not have LeBron play during the regular season, claiming to be keeping the rookie sensation in reserve for the championship game. Among those who did suit up for Jay-Z’s S. Carter squad were NBA stars Jamal Crawford, Eddy Curry, and Lamar Odom, as well as New York City’s own Sebastian Telfair, a fellow high-school prodigy who would grace the cover of Sports Illustrated Magazine. Fat Joe’s Terror Squad Team featured a number of household names in its own right, including NBA stars AlHarrington, Jermaine O’Neal, Jamaal Tinsley and Stephon Marbury. In an interview after a regular season game interpreted to be directed at Fat Joe and his Terror Squad unit, Jay-Z announced that were his team to make it to the EBC Championship Game, he “promised problems.” Asked to speculate on who those problems might be, Jay-Z remained mum on the subject. When his team did indeed make it to the Championship Game, it was later learned that Shaquille O’Neal was waiting to arrive to Rucker Park in a separate vehicle. However, the most anticipated championship in EBC History between S. Carter and the Terror Squad, one for which some 15,000 people lined up outside Rucker Park the morning of in anticipation, never was played due to a massive power blackout which struck New York City on the morning of August 14, 2003, leaving thousands to wonder what might have been.



Ray Allen
Trevor Ariza
Michael Beasley
Dejuan Wagner
Elton Brand
Kobe Bryant
Vince Carter
Jamal Crawford
Mike Dunleavy
Kevin Durant
Tyreke Evans
Kevin Garnett
Ben Gordon
Danny Green
Al Harrington
Spencer Hawes
Kyrie Irving
Stephen Jackson
Mike James
Richard Jefferson
Brandon Jennings
Dahntay Jones
Shawn Marion
Joakim Noah
Jermaine O’Neal
Lamar Odom
Travis Outlaw
Chris Paul
Zach Randolph
Jason Richardson
Nate Robinson
Brandon Roy
JR Smith
Jerry Stackhouse
Lance Stephenson
Sebastian Telfair
Jason Terry
Jamaal Tinsley
Charlie Villanueva
Kemba Walker
Metta World Peace
Erick Barkley
Lloyd Daniels
Baron Davis
Gilbert Arenas
Mario Elie
Michael Finley
Terrell Owens
Sundiata Gaines
Malik Sealy
Walter Berry
Duane Pearl Washington
Jerry Reynolds
Rod Strickland
Stephon Marbury
Allen Iverson
Joe Smith
Steve Francis
Chris Webber
Smush Parker
Quentin Richardson
Rafer Alston
Kenny Satterfield
Chris Taft
Shammgod Wells
Tim Thomas
Jamel Thomas
John Wallace
Cheese Johnson
Steve Burtt Sr
Steve Burtt, Jr
Kevin Williams


Chris Brown
Trey Songz
Jay Z
P. Diddy
Alicia Keys
Swizz Beatz
Ace Hood
Queen Latifah
Big Sean
Jermaine Dupri
Terrence J
Ruben Studdard
Carson Daly
Gary Shandling
Denzel Washington
Gabrielle Union
Don Cheadle
Morris Chestnut
Bill Clinton
David Stern
Adam Silver
Marc Cuban
Bob Johnson
Fat Joe
Master P
Michael Bivins
Busta Rhymes
Mark Henry
Notorious BIG
Juelz Santana
Jim Jones
Black Rob


“On Hallowed Ground” (Turner Sports, Documentary, 1999)
MTV – 2000
MTV2 – 2001
MSG Network – “EBC Live at Rucker Park” 2002, 2003, 2009, 2010
BET – “EBC America Streetball” – 2004
ESPN – “EBC Live at Rucker Park” 2004
“The Blackout” (Documentary, 2004)
NBA TV – “EBC Live at Rucker Park” 2005, 2006