Asphalt Gods: An Oral History of the Rucker Tournament
The real basketball deal–the inside story of Harlem’s legendary tournament and the pros and playground legends who have made it world famous.
Earl “The Goat” Manigault. Herman “Helicopter” Knowings. Joe “The Destroyer” Hammond. Richard “Pee Wee” Kirkland. These and dozens of other colorfully nicknamed men are the “Asphalt Gods,” whose astounding exploits in the Rucker Tournament, often against multimillionaire NBA superstars, have made them playground divinity. First established in the 1950s by Holcombe Rucker, a New York City Parks Department employee, the tournament has grown to become a Harlem institution, an annual summer event of major proportions. On that fabled patch of concrete, unknown players have been lighting it up for decades as they express basketball as a freestyle art among their peers and against such pro immortals as Julius Erving and Wilt Chamberlain. X’s and O’s are exchanged for oohs and aahs in one of the great examples of street theater to be found in urban America.
Asphalt Gods is a streetwise, supremely entertaining oral history of a tournament that has influenced everything from NBA playing style to hip-hop culture. Now, legends transmitted by word of mouth find a home and the achievements of basketball’s greatest unknowns a permanent place in the game’s record.
From the Hardcover edition.
What people are saying - Write a review
Asphalt gods: an oral history of the Rucker TournamentUser Review - Not Available - Book Verdict
Playground or "streetball" players were once regarded as undisciplined, arrogant, and fundamentally inferior to their NBA siblings. Today, the pros emulate moves that originated in the street game ... Read full review
Other editions - View all
Abdul-Jabbar All-Stars asphalt Baby Sunshine backcourt ball basket began Best-Kept-Secret blacktop Boys Bronx Brooklyn Cal Ramsey called career Carnesecca Carolina Chamberlain coach college basketball Connie Hawkins crowd Destroyer Diddy dribble dunk Earl Manigault Evans fans Future Goat going Greer guys Harlem Globetrotters High School Holcombe Rucker hoop Indiana Pacers Jackie Jackson Joe Hammond John's Jones Julius Erving Jumping Jackie Kareem kids knew Lakers layup looked loved Marius named neighborhood never nickname Nunn Pee Wee Kirkland Philly Pied Piper play at Rucker players playground legends professional pros Reid remember Richie Adams Rieser roster Rucker Championship Rucker Park Rucker Tournament scoring season Shake & Bake shooting shot Snooky's Spook Spraggins squad star Stephon Marbury summer talent teammates told took wanted Warner watching White Jesus Wilt Wilt Chamberlain Wingo winning Wolverine York City York Knicks young