Citywide Sports News from NYC Sports Network
The renovation of the legendary basketball court park kicked off this past week and will be completed by October 2021, in collaboration with NYC Parks and key NBPA partners Spalding, NBA 2K, Rucker Brand and Legends.
To follow the progress of the renovation, please visit – https://nbpa.com/ruckerlegends
The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) recently officially announced that it is partnering with NYC Parks to completely renovate the Greg Marius Court at Holcombe Rucker Park in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood. Funded by the NBPA, the renovation of the legendary basketball court begins today and will include the repair and leveling of the court’s pavement, the replacement of the bleachers, backboards and baskets – custom made and provided by Spalding, and scoreboard, the addition of team benches to both sides of the court, and the repainting of the basketball court. Once the renovation is complete, the NBPA Foundation also plans to fund and support the addition of a new recreation position to provide programming at the park and NYC Parks’ nearby Jackie Robinson Recreation Center.
The renovation will be completed by October 2021, and the park will officially reopen with a grassroots basketball and community event hosted by the NBPA and THINK450 along with its marketing partners including Spalding, NBA 2K, Rucker Brand and Legends as the official apparel partner of the NBPA Rucker Park Refurbishment. The grand opening will feature a day of programming including a ribbon cutting ceremony followed by youth basketball clinics and skills competitions, an NBPA and youth basketball game as well as a NBA 2K gaming lounge for community members to come and play NBA® 2K22, the next version of the top-rated and top-selling NBA video game simulation series. There will also be special guest appearances from current and former NBPA members who have connections to the park and will join in celebration of its reopening.
“We are incredibly honored to be entrusted with the renovation of Rucker Park,” said Michele Roberts, Executive Director of the NBPA. “The Rucker is legendary in the basketball world. Many of our past and present members honed their skills and established their reputations on this court. Through this renovation, we aim to preserve the rich history of the park while ensuring that future generations of players – and the Harlem community as a whole – can further enhance its incredible legacy.”
“For decades, the Greg Marius Court at Holcombe Rucker Park has drawn basketball legends, supported rising talent, and served as a source of pride for the Harlem community,” said NYC Parks Acting Commissioner Margaret Nelson. “We are thrilled to partner with the NBPA to reestablish this world-famous court as a state-of-the-art basketball venue, and we thank the NBPA Foundation for funding a new staff position to do programming for the community at both Rucker Park and Jackie Robinson Recreation Center.”
“The magic of Rucker Park has always been about the amazing men and women who have ensured that the park was a vibrant and safe place for kids to play and for the community to gather,” said Sherrie Deans, Executive Director of the NBPA Foundation. “We are so honored to be able to return that resource to the Harlem community.”
Working with several of its partners, the NBPA is bringing together multiple unique elements to make this a renovation one that will preserve and honor the history of Rucker Park. A global leader in basketball equipment, Spalding is donating custom NBA-level baskets to the park, which will be installed during the renovation, as well as providing custom NBPA x Spalding basketballs to be used during the reopening ceremony. In addition to these upgrades, the NBPA has commissioned A$AP Ferg, a renowned rapper and artist from Harlem, to provide a one-of-a-kind mural for the court. A rendering of the artwork will be revealed in the coming weeks via the NBPA’s social channels (@theNBPA).
“Spalding is proud to help the NBPA and New York Parks and Recreation renovate historic Rucker Park and preserve its significance to Harlem and celebrate the legend that is Holcombe Rucker,” said Matt Murphy, Vice President and General Manager of Spalding. “We created custom versions of our Arena Renegade hoops as our contribution to this important project and look forward to seeing the positive impact to the basketball community for decades to come.”
The NBPA also teamed up with apparel brand Legends, in collaboration with Rucker Brand, the clothing company founded by Holcombe Rucker’s grandson Chris Rucker, to create a capsule collection featuring apparel that is inspired by decades of iconic and culture-defining moments at Rucker and celebrates past, present, and future legends of the historic park. The apparel from the collection will also be featured in content leading up to the drop in mid-September and will be worn exclusively at the reopening ceremony and event. To learn more about the capsule collection and request early access, visit Legends.com/pages/Rucker.
“At Legends, it’s our mission is to create and celebrate culture-defining moments that inspire humans to leave an impactful legacy, so we’re excited to partner with the NBPA on an initiative that does just that while also honoring a place that has deep seeded roots in the game of basketball,” said, Legends Founder & CEO, Scott Hochstadt. “Working with the Rucker Brand has also allowed us to add a level of authenticity that really brings the collection to life.”
“The Rucker Brand is proud to support renovating Rucker Park in Harlem with the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) and Legends organization,” said Chris Rucker, the Founder and CEO of Rucker Brand. “The NBPA, with NYC Parks, and Legends, an athlete-owned performance and lifestyle apparel brand, are helping to continue the legacy of Holcombe Rucker by ensuring a safe, renovated space for the local community and basketball community at-large. The Rucker summer league, staged throughout Harlem, was a proving ground for top college and pro stars by the 1960s, and eventually came to call the courts at 155th Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard home. Rucker Park will once again become that same proving ground with the assistance of the NBPA, NYC Parks, and Legends, while realizing the vision of one man – Holcombe Rucker.”