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.
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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
THE PROS COME TO HARLEM
Chapter3 THE HAWK AND COMPANY SWOOP IN
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Abdul-Jabbar Air Canada All-Stars asphalt Avenue Baby Sunshine backcourt ball basket basketball began Best-Kept-Secret blacktop Boys Bronx Brooklyn Cal Ramsey called Carnesecca Chamberlain coach Connie Connie Hawkins court crowd Destroyer Diddy dribble dunk Earl Earl Manigault Evans fans Fat Joe Future Goat going Greer guys Harlem Hawkins High School Holcombe Rucker hoop Indiana Pacers Jackie Jackson Joe Hammond John's Jones Julius Erving Jumping Jackie Kareem ketball kids knew Lakers layup league looked loved Manigault Marius named neighborhood never nickname Nunn Pee Wee Kirkland Philly Pied Piper play at Rucker players professional pros Reid Richie Adams Rieser Rucker Park Rucker Tournament scoring season Shake & Bake shot Snooky's Spook Spraggins squad star Stephon Marbury Street summer talent teammates thing took Vecsey wanted Warner watching White Jesus Wilt Wingo winning Wolverine York City York Knicks young