One of the most famous basketball courts is located in Harlem, NYC, as the infamous Rucker Park was and is the home of some of the best streetball games in basketball history. Numerous players and even NBA stars wanted to get a taste of playing in the “Mecca” of basketball. The likes of Kevin Durant, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Julius Erving, Vince Carter, and more graced the iconic court. But one of the most memorable appearances was made by who other than the late great Kobe Bryant.
The year was 2002, as Kobe and the Los Angeles Lakers just won their third championship in the row – the three-peat was completed. Being only 23 years old, “The Mamba” was on the top of the world and hungry as always for more basketball. And what place better than New York and the Rucker Park to get a run in.
The atmosphere was electric, as everybody in the crow could feel the hype rising with Kobe stepping on the concrete court in the orange ‘Entertainers’ jersey. Kobe wasn’t fazed by the tough crowd that was basically on the court trying to disturb him. He was doing the same things he would do in a packed Staples Center, scoring on everybody, shooting over guys, blowing by, and dunking in the manner of one of the best scorers we have ever seen.
To add to that, he was talking trash back and forth with his opponents and the crowd, making it an authentic NYC experience and one of the most memorable games that the ‘Rucker’ had ever seen. That’s why that playground has a certain charisma around it, which brought so many great NBA players who played in some of the best-packed arenas onto the outdoor court. The Rucker Park legend lives on, as we can’t wait to see more NBA superstars go back to their roots and give the fans in Harlem another great experience.