Rucker Park is well-known for building the game of basketball, and some of the game’s most storied careers. Its real success has been building a community.

Holcombe Rucker, a Harlem school teacher, staged the first summer Rucker tournament in 1946. His goal was to provide leadership and a leg up for thousands of boys and girls. Holcombe Rucker expanded to after-school programs during the school year and formed the Pro Division in 1950.

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.