NBA players’ union to help renovate Rucker court

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The National Basketball Players Association, in partnership with NYC Parks, will renovate the Greg Marius Court at Holcombe Rucker Park in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood, the players’ union announced Thursday.

In a project funded by the NBPA, the renovation of the iconic court includes repairing and leveling the pavement, the replacement of bleachers, backboards, baskets and the scoreboard, the addition of team benches and repainting. The backboards and baskets will be custom-made and provided by Spalding.

“We are incredibly honored to be entrusted with the renovation of Rucker Park,” NBPA executive director Michele Roberts said in a statement. “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.”

Holcombe Rucker was a local teacher and playground director for the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. He started a basketball tournament in 1950 to help children in need achieve their college dreams. The park became a legendary basketball site, with NBA stars like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Julius Erving, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant coming to play pickup games

“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,” Chris Rucker, founder and CEO of Rucker Brand, said in a statement. “Rucker Park will once again become that same proving ground with the assistance of the NBPA, NYC Parks, and [apparel brand] Legends, while realizing the vision of one man — Holcombe Rucker.”

Following the completion of the renovation, the NBPA Foundation will fund a new recreation position to provide programming at the park and the nearby Jackie Robinson Recreation Center.

The renovation began Thursday and is set to be completed by October.

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