‘Lin-sanity’ Could Come to Rucker Park Tournament

HARLEM — After leading the Knicks to seven straight victories, appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated and becoming an international media sensation, hoops star Jeremy Lin is being asked to bring “Lin-sanity” to Harlem’s iconic Rucker Park.

That’s the dream of Greg Marius, CEO and founder of the Entertainer’s Basketball Classic, which has run the Rucker Tournament at 155th Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard since 1986.

This past summer, NBA all-star Kevin Durant became the latest player to add to the court’s legend by scoring an eye-popping 66 points during a game there.

The park has hosted so many National Basketball Association and streetball legends that Community Board 10 is considering requesting that the site be made a landmark.

“We definitely need him to come. He’s magic,” Marius said of Lin, who is the first American of Chinese or Taiwanese descent to play in the NBA.

“There’s no color on the basketball court. If you can play on that court, you can play.”

After bouncing around the NBA and the developmental league, Lin landed at the end of the then-struggling Knicks’ bench before getting an opportunity to play earlier this month.

Since his emergence, the Knicks have won seven straight, including a victory over the Los

Jeremy Lin, the surprising new star point guard for the Knicks, may play at Rucker Park. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Angeles Lakers on Friday that saw the point guard score a career-high 38 points.

On Wednesday, he notched up 10 points and 13 assists to lead the Knicks to a 100-85 victory over the Sacramento Kings.

“If I were Nike, I might consider making a mold [of his foot] right now,” Marius said.

Knicks officials said it was too early to think about what Lin will be doing this summer because of the shortened NBA season and how in-demand the player has become. The newly minted star is not currently doing appearances.

“He’s hardly had time to sleep,” said Andrew Krusco of the Knicks’ community relations department.

Marius said he is in the very early stages of speaking with the Knicks about having the team help install a state-of-the art scoreboard at Rucker Park that will show videos and instant replay, as well providing basketball clinics.

This year’s Rucker Park basketball season will kick off June 2 with a celebrity game, and the full tournament season will begin on June 18 and run through Aug. 20.

Lin’s appearance at Rucker could also help solve the question of what his nickname should be, Marius said.

Community Board 10 is considering adding Rucker Park at 155th Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard in Harlem to a list of sites and areas it wants to landmark. (DNAinfo/Jeff Mays)

Up until now, there’s been a series of puns riffing on Lin’s last name, from the ubiquitous “Lin-sanity” to “Linderella.” Film director and longtime Knicks fan Spike Lee has even solicited nicknames for Lin using Twitter.

Rucker Park has been the place many a streetball legend and NBA superstar have earned their nicknames. The Lakers’ Kobe Bryant got “Lord of the Rings” after his Rucker appearance, and the Charlotte Bobcats’ Kemba Walker, a Bronx native, is known as “E-Z Pass.”

Durant’s 66-point performance was so talked-about that they are still trying to come up with a worthy nickname for the Oklahoma Thunder star.

Hannibal, the announcer at Rucker Park who thinks up the nicknames, already has a few in mind for Lin, Marius said.

“Rush Hour,” the “Lin Factor” and “Chinese Connection” are just a few, he noted.

“He already has 1,000 nicknames, but we might have to change it,’ he said.

“It has to be a name that fits him perfect,” Marius said.

“But we don’t make up nicknames until you prove it live at Rucker Park,” he added.

Read more: http://www.dnainfo.com/20120216/harlem/rucker-park-tournament-organizer-wants-lin-sanity-at-iconic-harlem-court#ixzz1mbQyDJ00


Rucker Park, Home to NBA and Street Ball Stars, Could Become Landmark

HARLEM — Rucker Park is already a landmark in the basketball world.

Now, Community Board 10 wants it to be officially recognized as a historic landmark in the city.

“We’ve got this amazing sports site that people around the world know about. You literally have people coming from all over the world to watch the tournament,” said CB 10 District Manager Paimaan Lodhi.

“You look across the river from Rucker where the old Yankee Stadium used to stand, and you see that it’s across the street from the old Polo Grounds and we don’t want what happened to those places to happen at Rucker,” he added.

National Basketball Association player Kevin Durant scored 66 points at the Entertainer's Basketball Classic at Rucker Park in Harlem in August 2011.

Legends have long played at Rucker Park, from Dr. J to Kobe Bryant, and its legacy as Manhattan’s epicenter of hoops continues to grow. NBA star Kevin Durant dropped 66 points at the Entertainer’s Basketball Classic this past summer sending the crowd at 155th Street and Frederic Douglass Boulevard into a joyous frenzy.

Greg Marius, CEO and founder of the Entertainer’s Basketball Classic, which has run the Rucker Tournament at the 155th Street location since 1986, was excited to hear about the idea.

“It’s already a landmark. I just heard that they named a park in China Rucker Park,” said Marius. “I would love for it to be an official landmark.”

The effort to landmark Rucker Park is part of a larger movement by the board to preserve historic areas of Central Harlem as part of its new preservation plan.

After the 125th Street rezoning plan opened the street up for 20-plus story high-rise buildings, there was a realization that Central Harlem may actually be under landmarked compared to other parts of Manhattan, such as the Upper West Side and the Village.

Central Harlem currently has two designated historic areas, the landmarked buildings of Striver’s Row at 138th and 139th streets between Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard and Frederick Douglass Boulevard, and the Mount Morris Park Historic District.

There is a plan underway to expand the 16-block Mount Morris Park Historic District which now covers the streets between Marcus Garvey Park and Lenox Avenue to include Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard. Under the tentative CB 10 proposal, both sides of Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard would be included in the expanded district and add buildings such as Graham Court.

Other areas worthy for landmark status include neighborhoods East of Morningside Park and South of 125th Street where there are clusters of buildings built before 1900 and between 1900 and 1910.

“If you look at the Upper West Side and the Upper East Side and the landmarks we have, there are areas and buildings worthy of consideration,” said Lodhi.

Rucker Park, named after Parks Department worker Holcombe Rucker who started a basketball tournament to keep disadvantaged children out of harm’s way, would be eligible for landmark status according to the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

“Parks can be landmarked by virtue of being inside a historic district or as an individual ‘scenic’ landmark,” said LPC spokeswoman Elisabeth de Bourbon.

CB 10 is working with an urban planning fellow from New York University to refine their proposal. The board expects to vote on a final preservation plan this spring.

“We’ve had 10 NBA scoring champs and many of the NBA’s top 50 players,” said Marius, ‘so landmarking the site would be like a cap on top of all that history.”

Read more: http://www.dnainfo.com/20120109/harlem/rucker-park-home-nba-street-ball-stars-could-become-landmark#ixzz1j0hbW6JU