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Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Durant Scores 66 at Rucker Park

Saw that headline and a related article on, and it took me back to a day where you heard the old-timers talk about the legends who played on playgrounds in New York and Philadelphia. Joe "The Destroyer" Hammond, Herman "Helicopter" Knowles, and, of course, Earl "The Pearl" Monroe, elegized in a Spike Lee Joint He Got Game as the "Jesus" of North Philadelphia.

The Herman Rucker League in New York, the Charles Baker League in Philadelphia, summer leagues where the pros used to play wearing shirts promoting a furniture store (Nate Ben's Reliable), a tap room (Jimmy Bates B-Bar) and a haberdashery (Ducky's Dashery), and where once Monroe, dressed in somewhat ratty attire for him, parked his Rolls in the middle of North Broad Street near Temple University's McGonigle Hall and, as legend has it, racked up 60 points.

In the second half.

It's hard to play pick-up tackle football at a high level, and it's almost impossible to play pick-up baseball anywhere. But it's easy to play pick-up basketball, and pick-up basketball is at the core of the lore and allure of all basketball anywhere. The stories just abound, and some, like a good single-malt, age better as the years progress. Kevin Durant played here. Wilt scored 100 points in Hershey, as memorialized by pioneer rapper Kurtis Blow in Basketball ("Tell me were you in the joint, the night Wilt score one hundred points. . .."), Kobe stopped by at the Rucker, someone else played at the West 4th Street playground, the Belfield Recreation Center in Philadelphia or the Duckrey playground there at 15th and Diamond. And the old timers, the Sonny Hills and the John Chaneys, well, they can tell you stories -- great stories -- all day long.

So, as the NBA and the players' union engage in a Star Wars-like light sabre battle to see which side can push the other closer to the edge and therefore threaten -- temporarily -- the existence of the highest level of pro ball on the planet, certain players, through where they are showing up, are reminding us what a simply eloquent game basketball is.

Kevin Durant racks up 66 at the Rucker.

Larry Brown showed up at Princeton and then at a high school in Cape May, New Jersey talking to kids during the last strike (when Brown was coaching the 76ers).

There will be other sightings.

And basketball, as a whole, will be better off for it.

Because it's a wonderful game.

And there's not a thing, really, that the suits with the big bankrolls and the stars with the big cars can do to ruin it.

Because there always will be someone like a Kevin Durant to score 66 at the Rucker.


Anonymous buy xanax online said...

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4:53 PM  
Anonymous xlpharmacy said...

, Durant made his NBA debut with 18 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 steals in his rookie season , since this moment we know that he can be a super star in the same level of James,Bryan and Wade!

10:10 AM  
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