Before cell phones and computers dominated everyday life, the blacktops were a sanctuary for the best summer basketball around. Legendary teams like the 1995 Bay Pride, featuring the backcourt duo of Jason Kidd & Gary Payton, and the 1971 Harlem Westsiders, highlighting an emerging Doctor J alongside a cast of six other pro players, graced the courts. Not to be forgotten are the epic rivalries, such as S. Carter & Terror Squad at the EBC or between Team Nike and Team Ohh Way. Delve into the history of the greatest summer basketball teams ever, featuring NBA pros like Allen Iverson, Stephon Marbury, Rafer Alston, Ron Artest, Wilt Chamberlain, James Harden, Jerry Stackhouse, Michael Jordan, and many more.
Several leagues from around the country are represented, including The Rucker Pro Tournament, The Rucker EBC Tournament, The Dyckman Tournament, The Baker League in Philadelphia, The Goodman League in Washington DC, The Kenner League in Washington DC, The Drew League in Los Angeles, and the Bay Area Pro-Am in San Francisco.
1) 1971 Westsiders
2) 2003 Terror Squad
3) 1992 Bay Pride
4) 1967 Rucker Pros
5) 1975 76ers Rookies
6) 1970 Bronx Celtics
7) 1968 Big Wilt Smalls Paradise
8) 2003 S. Carter
9) 2015 Launfd
10) 1971 Milbank Pros
11) 1996 Bay Pride
12) 1997 Bad Boys
13) 2003 Murder Ink
14) 1983 Toombs
15) 1995 Toombs
16) 2004 Goodman League All-Stars
17) 2015 Birdies Revenge
18) 1969 Brooklyn United
19) 2013 Team Nike
20) 2011 Ohh Way
21) 2016 BB4L
22) 2003 All Daz
23) 2000 Steve Francis Hitmen
24) 2012 Banks Law Firm
25) 2008 AND1
26) 2002 Dej Jam
27) 1995 A & G Imports
28) 2017 Most hated Players
29) 2011 Team Jamison
30) 2010 Bay Area Dream Team
31) 2000 Sixers Baker League
32) 1983 Disco 4
33) 2002 SF City
34) 1985 Chicago Beer Team
35) 1988 Team Dyckman
36) 1983 St. Cecelia
37) 1995 Kenny Kings
1) 1971 Harlem Westsiders - New York, NY - Rucker Pro Tournament
Members:Julius Erving (NBA) - Charlie Scott (NBA) - Ollie Taylor (NBA) - Billy Paultz (NBA) - Mike Riordan (NBA) - Manny Leaks (NBA) - Joe Depre (ABA)
The Harlem Westsiders of 1971, under the coaching of Peter Vecsey, were a basketball powerhouse with a roster filled with talent. Their first year Vescey was covering the Nets for the Daily news and he got Roy Bye to sponsor the first team for $500 in 1971. Dr. Julius Erving, the star player, showcased his extraordinary skills and athleticism, long before he became world famous. The team also featured All-Pro Charlie Scott of the Boston Celtics, Ollie Taylor of the New York Nets, Mike Riordan of The Washington Bullets, Billy Paultz of the San Antonio Spurs, Manny Leaks of the Philadelphia 76ers and Joe Depre of the New York Nets, they formed a formidable lineup that left an indelible mark on the Rucker Pro Tournament. Make no mistake about it from 1970 to 1973 the Rucker Pro League Tournament was the most talented summer tournament ever (featuring more than 8 future NBA All-Stars). The Westsiders faced tough competition in 1971, including a memorable matchups with Joe Hammond’s Milbank Pros & Tiny Archibald’s Pro Keds All-Stars.
The team featured the All-Pro duo of Charlie Scott & Julius Erving, who might have been the best duo in pro basketball had they played together in the NBA. Charlie Scott, who in ’71-72 led the ABA in scoring with 34.6 ppg, and eventually won an NBA chip in ’76 with the Celtics. Billy Paultz helped hold down the interior and Ollie Taylor handled point guard duties for the team. The trio of Riordan, Leaks and Depre was as good as a supporting cast as one could find on the blacktop.
How tough was the Pro Rucker in 1971? With all that firepower, Erving and Scott couldn’t even win the ’71 MVP award. The league MVP of the 1971 Rucker Tournament was Nate “Tiny” Archibald, who in ’72-73 led the NBA in both scoring (34.0 ppg) and assists (11.4), a feat never accomplished before or since. It was Milbank and tournament leading scorer Richard “Pee Wee” Kirkland that gave them the most trouble. The Westsiders faced off with Milbank 4 times during a 2 year period, in which they won 3 games.
The 1971 summer the Doctor’s rise to fame, his first summer in the Rucker Pro League he destroyed college All-Americans Sid Catlett and Marvin Roberts in his first 2 games. Despite his youth, there was no one in the league that could match his athleticism, Doctor J was at the height of his powers scoring 50 multiple times in the summers of 1971 and 1972. He scored 56 points and 57 points receptively in the summer of 1971. In the immortal words of United Brooklyn coach Sid Jones (RIP): “My friend told me, ‘There’s a Rucker player who is better than Connie Hawkins and Elgin Baylor and can jump from the corner and dunk. They call him ‘The Claw."
During the 1971 regular season the Westsiders managed to beat the Milbank Pros 117-108 in a legendary overtime contest. The game saw the Westsiders jump to a 12 point lead in the 4th quarter before Joe Hammond erased the gap and sent the game into overtime. During the extra session, Charlie Scott converted on 4 shots in a row, sealing the victory for the Westsiders. “I had about 40, Joe had about 40, Julius about 30, Pee Wee had about 30,” says Charlie Scott. You can read the original article here by the coach of the Westsiders Peter Vecsey.
In the championship game of the storied 1971 season, there was a re-match of The Westsiders and Milbank Community Center. Everything was set for the rematch, Joe Hammond vs Julius Little Hawk Erving, Charlie Scott vs Pee Wee Kirkland. Legend said Joe Hammond dropped 50 points in the 2nd half on Erving (although it he was probably closer to finishing the game with 40), Pee Wee said he had about 46 with Charlie Scott catching a lot of it, Doc had about 40 according to Kirkland. The Westsiders were able to win the Rucker title in 1971 and they were able to reclaim the title in 1972. The reason we chose the Westsiders as Number 1, mostly because they only lost 1 game over a two summer span.
2) 2003 Terror Squad - New York, NY - Rucker EBC Classic
Members: Stephon Marbury (NBA) - Ron Artest (NBA) - Shawn Marion (NBA) - Jermaine O’Neal (NBA) - Cuttino Mobley (NBA) - Kareem Reid (Arkansas) - Zack Marbury - John “Franchise” Strickland - Rafer Alston (NBA)
Potential Additions: Allen Iverson, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Webber, Amare Stoudemire, Yao Ming, Mike Bibby
Rapper Fat Joe's Terror Squad dominated Rucker park in the early 2000s. Led by Stephon Marbury, Shawn Marion, Ron Artest and Jermaine O’Neal, this team dominated the EBC Classic from 2002-04, securing 3 consecutive titles. Former McDonalds All-American Kareem Reid, named the 2003 EBC MVP, played a pivotal role at the guard slot.
The legendary championship game in 2003 remains a memorable event in the imagination of streetball history, where both Fat Joe and Jay-Z assembled star-studded lineups that never took the floor. A blackout in New York City caused the game to be postponed and eventually cancelled due to Jay-Z leaving the country the next day to vacation with Beyonce.
Stephon Marbury was nearly ungaurdable in the NBA during the 2002 season, defenders in EBC were helpless against the NBA All-Star. Ron Artest was perhaps the most single intimidating presence in the league. The high flying Shawn Marion was a flat out problem, using his speed and athleticism to dominate in the open court. Routinely flashing big time windmill dunks during the flow of games. Fat Joe, who had each Marbury, Artest and Reid on his EBC roster, doesn’t hesitate to give Reid the highest praise. “The guy who won all my chips, who was my favorite player, was Kareem Reid,” Joe says. “When it came down the line, he knew who to pass it to, he knew what do do, he knew how to win a chip. He was blue-collar, but faster than anybody."
Along with the Rucker Pro Tournament, the EBC in Rucker Park was loaded with elite professional talent. The early 2000’s saw 5 very stacked summer teams featuring a bevy of NBA players. Terror Squad wasn’t alone in their talent loaded roster, S.Carter, Def Jam, Murder Ink, So-So Def, Ruff Ryders. More than 10 NBA All-Stars were featured in the 2003 EBC.
Rafer Alston occasionally played with Terror Squad despite also playing with Def Jam in both the 2002 and 2003 season. Zach Randolph also made a few appearances in the 2003 regular season. Although the New York City blackout in 2003 caused the Championship game between the Terror Squad and S. Carter to never happen. Both squads were stacked with ringers for the Championship, Terror Squad was rumored to bring in the additional talents of Allen Iverson, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Webber, Amare Stoudemire, Yao Ming and Mike Bibby.
Terror Squad claimed the Rucker EBC crown in 2002, 2003 (blackout game) and 2004 in one of the toughest summertime basketball leagues of all time.
3) 1992 Bay Pride - San Francisco, CA - Bay Area Pro-Am
Members: Jason Kidd (NBA) - Gary Payton (NBA) - Brian Shaw (NBA) - Antonio Davis (NBA) - Monte Buckley (Cal) - Al Gribsby - Reggie Smith
The original west coast dream team was the Bay Area Pride of 1992, spearheaded by future Hall of Fame guards Jason Kidd and Gary Payton. The duo dominated the Bay Area Pro-Am, going undefeated during the 1992 summer. Featuring some of the best talent the Bay Area has ever produced. Future NBA All-Star Antonio Davis was a monster inside and the Orlando Magic player Brian Shaw helped to spread the floor with his shooting abilities. College standout Monty Buckley helped to round out the roster. This collection of players was not only a great collection of Bay Area talent at the time, but 4 of these players are still thought to be some of the best players to ever come from this region. The 1992 team created a buzz in the Bay Area that helped lead to some loaded star powered teams down the road.
This west coast dream team was put together the same year the actual dream team dominated the olympics in Barcelona. Much like the actual Dream Team, this bay area team went the entire summer without loosing a game.
"We come to play," Payton said after scoring 33 points to lead Bay Pride over San Francisco, 115-101, in Game 1 of the best-of-three championship series at Kezar Pavilion Monday night. Further excitement, was generated by a spectator, Deion Sanders, of the San Francisco 49ers. Sanders sat in the top row, a white baseball cap on sideways. A handful of bodyguards kept at bay hordes of kids seeking autographs. "Any time I play basketball I take it seriously.” said Gary Payton is one of three NBA stars on Bay Pride, teaming with Jason Kidd of the Dallas Mavericks (17 points) and Brian Shaw of the Orlando Magic (10 points).
Both Kidd and Payton were excellent at shutting down opposing guards, applying pressure, and making them uncomfortable on the court. Their defensive abilities extended to off-ball situations, where they would disrupt passing lanes and provide help defense when needed. They can easily be considered the greatest Summertime backcourt of all time. Rivaling any backcourt in NBA history.
4) 1969 Rucker Pros (Team Knicks) - New York, NY - Rucker Pro Tournament
Members: Willis Reed (NBA) - Walt Frazier (NBA) - Bill Bradley (NBA) - Freddie Crawford (NBA) - Bob McCulough (NBA) - Nate Bowman (NBA) - Em Bryant (NBA) - Neil Johnson (NBA)
The Rucker Pros, largely made up of New York Knicks was led by the iconic duo of Willis Reed and Walt Frazier. The Knicks venturing uptown to the Rucker brought the league a ton of notoriety in the New York press. Which really helped the reputation of Rucker Pro Tournament for years down the road, no small accomplishment considering the depth of New York basketball tournaments at the time. The apparenace of the Knicks at Rucker helped to bridge a gap between the early 60’s and the early 70’s with stars like Nate Archibald and Julius Erving appearing in the early 1970s at the Rucker.
In 1967, Crawford brought down fellow Knick Willis Reed, who was named Pro Rucker MVP in his first 1967 season. However the pro players were humbled in a 1967 contest against the famed Harlem Globetrotter Pablo Richardson. The team led by Robertson and was sponsored by a local bar, “Sweet and Sour.” Reed’s squad was overwhelmed from the jump. “These guys couldn’t miss,” McCullough said. “They wanted to kill us. We never knew what hit us. Shot after shot. Timeout. And then when we got back on the court, they started raining shots again. Game was over. And I got into Freddie Crawford’s Cadillac. We drove up the Harlem River Drive, going nowhere, just in a daze. In our basketball uniforms. We didn’t even change. In a daze. Never knew what hit us.” Willis Reed didn’t lose much in Rucker after that game. They also lost in 83-71 game to the Urban League featuring Bobby Hunter another Globetrotter.
In 1968 Reed had a team entered in the Rucker and drafted Frazier to play. “He was like, ‘Hey, Frazier, come on, man, you’re going to be playing with us in the Rucker.” said Frazier. “It was like a circus, I never saw anything like it,” Frazier said. “It was like a video game. I was like, ‘Who are these guys?’ I never heard of any of these cats. Guys jumping all out the gym, all over the rim. Willis went up, they were blocking his shot. It was incredible, my first time up there. I was the No. 1 pick, so these guys all wanted to show me up. And Willis was a pro, he was the man in New York. I remember that scene like it was yesterday. That’s a scene I’ll never forget.”
In 1969, half the Knicks’ squad played at Rucker, including starters Walt Frazier, Willis Reed and Bill Bradley. Reed’s exceptional skills and active community engagement, showcased a perfect blend of competition and community spirit each and every summer. He was again named the Pro Rucker MVP in the 1969 season. Similar to his career in the NBA, Willis Reed was simply a man amongst boys, often appearing at the single most intimidating force at Rucker.
That 1969 summer saw the Knicks dominate the summer tournament, securing the crown at Rucker. That season marked the teams second title at The Rucker Pro Tournament. That very next NBA season, the franchise won its first league championship. Coincidence? After the Knicks competed at Rucker in the late 1960’s, they were able to win NBA championships in both 1970 and 1973. Those Knicks teams were known for there team first approach and willingness to play for each other. Something that was strengthened on the blacktops of Rucker Park long before they were hosting two different Larry O’Brien trophies.
While the Knicks won Rucker in 1967 and 1969 the league only went on to last until 1972. Sadly the 1972 season was the last of its kind. “I'll give you the rundown on what happened in 1972,” says McCullough. “That was the year everything happened to us. First Walt Robertson of the Globetrotters, Pablo's brother, injured his knee playing and he had to have an operation, The league had to pay for it. Fortunately, we had insurance. It cost about $3,000 for the operation “That same year Charlie Vasz broke his ankle playing and Elnardo Webster broke a toe. Vaughn Harper also broke his leg in two places. Freddie Crawford and I said then we had to move the tournament indoors and the next year we went to City College.” The pros wouldn't risk their careers by playing on the knee‐jolting concrete.
5) 1975 76ers Pros - Philadelphia, PA - Baker League
Members: Darryl Dawkins (NBA) - Joe “Jellybean” Bryant (NBA) - World B. Free (NBA) - Jerry Bakersville (NBA)
The New York Knicks were not the only NBA team to test their skills at a summer league. The Philadelphia 76ers had a similar approach, sending younger players to play in Philly’s Baker League, a practice they kept for more than 20 seasons. Usually the team would play twice a week in the Baker League. The most talented team of Sixers was assembled in 1975, the 76ers Pros showcased a roster featuring the Philadelphia Rookies Darryl Dawkins, Joe “Jellybean” Bryant, World B. Free, and Jerry Bakersville. The addition of a young Darryl Dawkins did put some fear into the organizers of the league, who were concerned the equipment might not hold up to the young centers glass breaking dunks. The collection of Philadelphia rookies ended up going undeafted in the 1975 Baker League season.
The 18‐Year‐old Dawkins, lived in a world of make‐believe in the seclusion of his home he pretends to be a disk jockey, and this is the way he introduces his show: “This is the Big Dawk talking. I'm the kid that knew what he did. What I did is for the needy, not the greedy“ Soul music, follows. “We also have him playing two days a week in the Baker League in Philadelphia and have put him on a regular jogging schedule. Our work with Dawk is basically defense. He is a gifted shooter. The first time I saw him play in high school, he made 17 of 23 shots from the floor, all 15 to 18 foot jumpers, and hit on all 10 free throws. We're trying basically to teach him what it takes to play defense and rebound in the N.B.A. He has taken to it very well.”
The 1975-1976 76ers seemed to greatly benefit from the Rookies play in Baker league before the season. This 76ers team improved their NBA record by 12 wins and even made the playoffs in 1976. This practice of forming a team for off-season play not only helped the players adjust but also became a crucial part of the city's basketball culture, providing a platform for young talents to learn and compete alongside established NBA stars.
The 76ers role in the league was partly due to the reputation of The Baker League, which quickly established itself as the country's top off-season showcase for pro basketball talent in the mid 1970’s, a standing it retained for years. Showcasing talents like Wilt Chamberlain, Guy Rodgers, Earl Monroe, Billy Cunningham, Luke Jackson, Chet Walker, Hal Greer, Wali Jones, Jim Washington, Bill Melchionni, Clifford Ray, Willis Reed, Adrian Dantley and many more.
6) 1970 The Bronx Celtics - New York, NY - Rucker Pro Tournament
Members: Nate “Tiny” Archibald (NBA) - Dave Cowens (NBA) - Austin Carr (NBA) - Willie Worsley (NBA)
The Bronx Celtics of 1970, featuring Tiny Archibald, Dave Cowens, Austin Carr and Willie Worsley, embodied the essence of raw and unfiltered playground basketball. "It started for me on the playground,” said World B Free. “When I was a kid, Nate Archibald was the guy in Harlem.”
Archibald, a native of the Bronx, began facing off against professional players when he was just a young teenager. Even at such a tender age, his skills were unstoppable, leaving seasoned veterans in awe of his talent.
Tiny was named the MVP of the Pro Rucker Tournament in 1971, 2 seasons later he led the NBA in both scoring (34.0 ppg) and assists (11.4). Despite his record numbers, his Bronx teammate Dave Cowens won the NBA MVP that season. Besides maybe Pete Maravich, there was no better showtime draw in the 70’s than Nate “Tiny” Archibald. The 6’1 lefty was a dynamo with the ball showcasing his unique speed and ball handling ability. His handles and passing left crowds in awe and left young onlookers chanting his name (Chronicled in the novel Heaven Is A Playground). Austin Carr of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Willie Worsley were both lethal running alongside Archibald.
Archibald remembers his time at Rucker “I lived and died for the summer so I could come in and play against established guys like Connie Hawkins and them on Brooklyn USA. Oh, just to step on the court and say, “Yeah, I played against the Hawk. There, I battled with fellow streetball king Rick "Pee Wee" Kirkland from 1970-1971 and Angel "Monchito" Cruz."
Even when he became an NBA star, he still came back to the Rucker to train in the offseason. Returning to his old neighborhood in the South Bronx to stay with his family and play at the Rucker. The Bronx Celtics faced a bevy of legendary foes including Julius Erving’s Westsiders, Connie Hawkins Brooklyn United, Pee Wee Kirkland’s Milbank Pros and Wilt Chamberlains team. TArchibald played several times a week in the Harlem Professional Basketball League, formerly the Rucker League. While the 1970 Bronx Celtics were the best version, Tiny continued to play in NYC until around 1980. Remaining one the most lethal teams in all of New York City.
7) 1968 Big Wilt's Smalls Paradise - New York, NY - Rucker Pro Tournament
Members: Wilt Chamberlain (NBA) - Tom “Satch” Sanders (NBA) - Calvin Ramsey (NBA) - Al Burden (NBA) - Russ Cunningham (NBA)
Sponsored by Wilt’s nightclub Big Smalls Paradise, the team was fueled by the performances of Wilt Chamberlain. The team was stacked with pro talent, including NBA Champion Tom “Satch” Sanders and Calvin Ramsey. The presence of Al Burden and Russ Cunningham further solidified the team's star status.
The championship game in the 1968 season saw Wilt’s Team (Cal Ramsay, Satch Sanders, Al Barden, Russ Cunningham) and Brooklyn (Connie Hawkins, Jumpin’ Jackie Jackson, Eddie Simmons, Bruce Spraggins and import Walt Bellemy). After Brooklyn’s Jackie Jackson blocked a turnaround shot by Chamberlain, Wilt called timeout and proceeded to finish the game with a reported 10 dunks in a row. Reminding the other players that Wilt was the most dominant force in all the land.
A young Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was present for the game “The battle against Wilt’s team looked to be pretty even at first, but the other team started to pull ahead. Wilt was fuming. For three quarters, Wilt endured the pounding, until he decided he just wouldn’t take any more. Wilt refused to lose. He went after every rebound and grabbed it no matter how many other players also went after it. His teammates fed him the ball under the basket and he dunked it. If Wilt got his hands on the ball, he dunked it. He dunked ten times in a row, with the crowd screaming in delight at the show he was putting on. Sometimes he’d go up with three players hanging on to him. But they might as well have been fluffy scarves for all the trouble they caused.”
Wilt’s Small Paradise Team took home the storied Rucker Pro Tournament crown in 1968.
8) 2003 S.Carter - New York, NY - EBC Classic
Black Out Game Potential Additions: Shaquille O’Neal - LeBron James - Tracy McGrady - Antoine Walker
In his first and only season at Rucker's EBC, Jay-Z's team had as much NBA firepower as anyone. The team was led by Jamal “True Essence” Crawford, who played almost every game that summer. Known for his incredible offensive game, he was custom made to wow the crowds at Rucker. Front court players Kenyon Martin and Eddy Curry were also regulars for S. Carter. The team also featured EBC regulars like John “Franchise“ Strickland and Reggie Freeman. Then teenage phenom Sebastian Telfair was a regular for the squad even at the ripe age of 17. Queens native Smush Parker and Omar Cook helped round out the roster. With a constellation of NBA luminaries gracing their lineup, S.Carter was a force to be reckoned with during the 2003 season.
S.Carter embraced youth and raw potential, as evidenced by the inclusion of teenage prodigy Sebastian Telfair. At the tender age of 17, Telfair fearlessly took on the challenge of playing alongside established stars, showcasing his remarkable skills and basketball IQ. "He’d call you, he’d e-mail you,” Telfair told Sports Illustrated when reflecting on the summer before his senior year. “If I couldn’t get all the way out there, he’d make sure to have a car come pick me up.”
While the New York blackout prevented the epic showdown of Terror Squad and S. Carter. But maybe the imagination of the game has grown past the actual event that would have taken place. It is the greatest second place team in the history of the game.
9) 2015 LAUNFD - Los Angeles, CA - Drew League
The best Los Angeles team ever assembled was led by All-Pro guard and LA native James Harden. In the competitive atmosphere of LA’s Drew League, the 2015 LAUNFD team (pronounced LA-Unified), included NBA talents DeAndre Jordan, Montrezl Harrel, PJ Tucker, and Bobby Brown. The team was started by four high school teammates from legendary Westchester High School (fun fact: they were also teammates of Trevor Ariza and Hassan Adams).
Their first round playoff matchup was against NBA Champion Klay Thompson, Harden led the way with a near triple double and was backed by hardworking forward Montrezl Harrell. Houston Rockets PJ Tucker did a lot of the dirty work to led LAUNFD to playoff victories. At 7'0" and more than 250 pounds, DeAndre Jordan, who spent the 2014-15 season with the Brooklyn Nets, has few peers in this or any summer pro-am in terms of sheer size, strength and length. "I've got the advantage for sure," said Jordan. "I try to use that whenever I'm playing. Just rebound, block shots and be a defensive presence.” That's all Jordan needed to do to change the game for LAUNFD.
In one of the best Championship games in Drew League History, LAUNFD went against Demar Derozan and Nick Young’s Most Hated Players, but it was James Harden’s 37 points that made all the difference. The crowd got into the game when Compton’s own Demar Derozan caught an insane alleyoop over James Harden. Derozan finished the game with 28 and Swaggy P went for 25. In the end it was James Harden that had the last laugh, sealing the game with a deep 3 to win the championship 98-93. “I’m not worried about having to prove myself because that’s how I grew up. For me, it’s just going out there and doing what I do. That’s how I was raised. That’s one of the reasons I still play in the Drew League, even though it’s my seventh year in the NBA. Because I will never forget where I came from and how I was raised to play the game. I always had to fight for what I got, I’ve always had to go get what I wanted. That’s gonna stay with me ’til I’m done with the game.”
Hardens play at the Drew was a bit ahead of the NBA curve. “Down at the Drew, they defer to him the whole time so he always has the ball,” Smiley told The Undefeated during a phone interview. “He would dish it a lot during the summer, too. Watching the games now, we’re laughing because we say, ‘That’s just how he played for L.A. Unified (LAUNFD) during the summertime.’ He’s definitely comfortable in that offense. That’s right up his alley.” Rockets guard Bobby Brown also told teammate, and fellow L.A. native, Trevor Ariza that seeing Harden play in D’Antoni’s offensive system is very similar to what he sees with him in the Drew League. “We had guys around him that could knock down shots and make plays for him,” said Brown about Harden on LAUNFD. “I said to Trevor and my cousin that, ‘It looks like he is playing in the Drew right now, how he is finding guys, scoring and the way he is playing.’ He is getting 18 assists, 15 assists and triple-doubles.”
The 2018 version of LAUNFD was no joke either, still led by All-Pro Harden they ended the legendary winning streak of Birdies Revenge. “When I heard [they had won 26], I’m like, I’m on the way,” P.J. Tucker told Yahoo Sports. “I was like, we gotta get that done.” The squad assembled and was able to take down Birdies Revenge in a physical 2018 contest.
The 2015 Drew League had serious pro talent like Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors), Paul George (Indiana Pacers), Demar Derozan (Toronto Raptors), Nick Young (LA Lakers), Dorrell Wright (Golden State Warriors), Jordan Clarkson (Utah Jazz), Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons), Brandon Jennings (Milwaukee Bucks) and Stanley Johnson (Arizona). The 2015 LAUNFD team can be argued to be the most complete champion in the history of The Drew.
10) 1971 Milbank - New York, NY - Rucker Pro Tournament
In the 1971 edition of the Daily News, journalist Peter Vecsey wrote that Hammond single-handedly erased a 12-point deficit down the stretch of regulation — “faster than amphetamines” — before Charlie Scott carried the Westsiders in overtime to a 117-108 Milbank lost. Larry Cheetah was Milbanks most athletic player, often challenged with taking on Julius Erving.
Point guard Richard “Pee Wee” Kirkland, a Chicago Bulls draftee who never played in the league but wrecked havoc on the courts of New York City. The point guard always arrived in style complete with a Rolls-Royce and fur coat. Kirkland was a tough minded guard who gave his competitors fits and gained rave reviews from his All-Pro contemporaries like Nate Archibald and Walt Fraizer. Many of the ex-NBA players considered Kirkland to be the best playground player not in the NBA. Pee Wee Kirkland was drafted by the Chicago Bulls but turned down the money to remain in New York.
The electrifying performances of Joe Hammond, who set scoring records at Rucker Park, added to the team's storied legacy. “The Destroyer” had 4 of top 6 scoring games in the Rucker Pro League Tournament. Hammond’s rep at Rucker in 1971 earned him a try-out with the L.A. Lakers. According to legend, Hammond destroyed a young Pat Riley in a one-on-one, impressed Wilt Chamberlain during a shooting drill and was offered a contract, which he subsequently turned down.
In the championship game of the storied 1971 season, there was a re-match of The Westsiders and Milbank Community Center. Everything was set for the rematch, Joe Hammond vs Julius Little Hawk Erving, Charlie Scott vs Pee Wee Kirkland. Legend said Joe Hammond dropped 50 points in the 2nd half on Erving, Pee wee said he had about 46 with Charlie Scott catching a lot of it, Doc had about 40 according to Kirkland. Various verbal accounts of this game have existed over time, some have Hammond going for only 30 in the second half, some have him going for 50. In the end they took the loss to the Westsiders, with over 6 pros there is no shame in that.
11) 1996 Bay Pride - San Francisco, CA - SF Pro Am
Members: Jason Kidd (NBA) - Shareef Abdur-Rahim (NBA) - Eddie House (NBA) - Rex Walters (NBA) - Raymond "Circus" King (CAL) - Monty Buckley (CAL) - Jaha Wilson (USC) - Darren Brown (colgate) - Bennett Davison (Arizona) - Michael Stewart (NBA)
The 1996 Bay Pride, champions of the San Francisco Pro-AM, boasted a star-studded lineup featuring NBA talents Jason Kidd, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Eddie House, and Rex Walters. While previous versions of the Bay Pride featured All-Stars like Gary Payton and Antonino Davis this team had a more youthful presence featuring college players Shareef Abdul-Rahim (Cal), Eddie House (Arizona State), Rex Walters (Kansas), Jaha Wilson (USC), Bennet Davidson (Arizona) and Jason Kidd’s college teammate Monty Buckley (Cal).
The team's founder, Jon Greenberg, hailed the 1996 roster as one of the most talented in the league's history. "When he got out in the court, he was so calm and collected," Greenberg said. "I was waiting for enthusiasm to bust open, but it didn't. He got his fair share of rebounds and points. The flash that other guys presented, he didn't have, but he had a wealth of talent." Bay Pride's dominance, packed crowds, and the memorable atmosphere of Kezar left an enduring mark on the Pro-Am landscape.
12) 1997 Bad Boys - New York, NY - Rucker EBC
Ringers: Allen Iverson (NBA) - Kevin Garnett (NBA) - Shamgod Wells (NBA)
Bad Boys layed the ground work for the excellent run the EBC had in the early 2000’s. Coached by legendary coach Mousey, the team featured a bevy of NBA and playground talent. The team was headlined by the trio of Stephon “The Handler” Marbury, Ron “Tru Warrior” Artest and Elton Brand. Artest, the “True Warrior” captured both the regular season and playoff MVP awards playing for Bad Boy in both 1997 and 1998. "You might think I'm crazy, but to me, this is more exciting than an N.C.A.A. tournament game," said Ron Artest, the former St. John's star who was recently drafted by the Chicago Bulls. "This is all about returning to your roots, putting your talent on display against many of the guys you grew up playing against in the parks," said Artest.
"When I played for the Bad Boy, they called me the Handler," said Stephon Marbury, the Coney Island point guard prodigy who now runs the show for the Nets. "I have great memories of my playing days here because the competition is so awesome.” Marbury was perhaps the most feared player at the Rucker. Marbury won multiple championships with Bad Boy and also Fat Joe's Terror Squad. During the 1996 summer Puff Daddy himself managed to get Marbury to bring down fellow Timberwolf Kevin Garnett, who was shooting a movie in New York City at the time.
If the teams connection to the NBA draft was not strong enough with Iverson, Artest and Marbury. Then consider Elton Brand who played for this unstoppable 1997 team, he was drafted first overall by the Chicago Bulls in 1999. Brand was a force at Rucker showcasing his future strength at Duke and in the Association.
The later versions of Bad Boy were still dominate, despite the switch of Marbury who went over to Terror Squad after 2 seasons with Bad Boy, the team still had a ton of talent like high scoring guard Charles Jones of LIU, Wally Dixon “The Main Event” of Rutgers University, and Conrad “McNasty” McRae who played at Syracuse. Jones was a remarkable scorer that led the NCAA in scoring with over 30 points per game. “McNasty" was a mainstay at the Rucker who was one of the nastiest dunkers in the 90’s, tragically McRae suffered from a cardiac arrest while at a Summer league practice for the Orlando Magic.
13) 2002 Murder Inc. - New York, NY - Rucker EBC Classic
While they never won the crown, this team had immense talent. Sponsored by Irv Gotti’s Murder INC record label. They were able to build a great roster that had superb guard play in a rugged EBC.
14) 1983 The Tombs - Kenner League Washington DC, Georgetown
In 1982, the Kenner League started when Georgetown coach John Thompson saw an opportunity for a more structured playing enviorment for his players. Thompson and a small group of local coaches launched the James (Jabbo) Kenner League in the summer of 1982 with the support of Nike. The list of former Kenner leaguers includes Allen Iverson, Jerome Williams, Mike Sweetney, Othella Harrington, Alonzo Mourning, and Dikembe Mutombo to name but a few.
The 1983 Tombs, sponsored by Georgetown's on-campus pub, featured a dynamic lineup that included the legendary Patrick Ewing, along with rising stars Michael Graham and Reggie Williams. This team, showcasing the incoming class of Hoya freshmen, became a summer league sensation. Ewing, already celebrated as one of the nation's top talents, dominated the court, while Graham, a relatively unknown freshman, emerged as a force in the paint. The duo's formidable presence propelled the Tombs to victory, setting the stage for Georgetown's triumphant national championship season. The summer league served as a glimpse into the greatness that would unfold for Ewing, Graham, and the Hoya program.
15) 1994 The Tombs - Kenner League Washington DC, Georgetown
Members: Allen Iverson (NBA) - Jerome Williams (NBA) - Dean Berry (Georgetown)
Without fanfare, on August 4, 1994 Allen Iverson took to a basketball court for the first time in 18 months and wowed the crowd (and more than a few teammates). "By the Sunday afternoon final, before an overflow crowd inside the gym and a crowd of those outside who could not get in, Iverson finished a combined 99 point effort in three days against some of the best collegiate talent in the city," wrote a 2007 retrospective. "This, of course, from a player that had not played organized basketball in over a year." Years later, a unreleased video of the Thursday debut at YouTube added to the legend that anything can happen at a Kenner game. "Growing up in this area you always knew you were getting the chance to play against the best", said Jerome Williams.
A crowd of roughly 5,000 fans turned out for the Kenner League playoffs, most had the same question in mind. "So just how good is this Allen Iverson, anyway?'' In his debut at Kenner he showcased an arial of dunks, his slick handle and a bevy of long range bombs earning a bevy of oohs and ahhh from the crowd. The Georgetown recruit scored 40 points, 30 in the first half, in the first round playoff game at McDonough Gymnasium. Iverson hadn't played organized basketball for a year until the 75-67 win over team Mike Digby. He electrified the crowd from the outset, hitting seven consecutive shots, none of them ordinary. After his first dunk, Iverson sank back-to-back three-pointers. Moments later, his free throws gave The Tombs a 28-18 lead. His final points of the first half came via an inbounds alley-oop pass that was the highlight of the evening.
"The next day, three thousand were on hand" leaving an impression on Williams. "The whole ghetto came out to watch," he said, and on the final day, four thousand were packed into the 2,400-seat McDonough Gymnasium. Eight rows back were NBA stars, Dekembe Mutombo and Grant Hill were trying to catch a glimpse of his alma mater's future. Iverson scored 99 points in 3 games, leading his squad, the Tombs, to the tournament championship, and soon everyone wanted to know about the new kid's limits, assuming he had any. "He doesn't get tired," an exhausted Morgan State University player said after guarding Iverson during the tournament.
Two nights after his debut, he put 33 on a team called Nike Air in the semifinals. The standing-room-only crowd was treated to a breathtaking offensive display from Iverson, a 6-foot-1 guard, who scored on dunks, mid-range jumpers and NBA range three-pointers. Iverson made 12-of-16 attempts, including 6 treys and didn't miss until the 3:56 mark in the first half. He lead The Tombs past Nike Air, 106-90, in a Kenner League semifinal at McDonough Gym. Jerome Williams scored a game-high 37 points for The Tombs.
Iverson's team, the Tombs, won the championship final with a 72-66 victory over the House of Tropicals. Iverson finished Sunday with a game-high 26 points. Despite his shooting woes, he made just 8-of-22 field-goal attempts, but was still clearly the best player on the floor. His 99 points over the 3 game playoff, fresh out of a jail sentence, is still hard to conceive today.
One of Iverson’s teammates on “The Tombs” was Dean Berry, who was entering his senior year in high school at a boarding school just outside of Washington. “I would always get him with the move. It was the one move that you knew was coming but you just couldn’t stop it. So I would keep doing it over and over,” Berry said. “He pulled me over one day and said, ‘Man, you have to show me this.” Berry showed him the dribble and then watched Iverson work tirelessly to master it. Iverson said. “Maybe I wouldn’t be standing here if it wasn’t for Dean Berry teaching me the crossover. A walk-on. The man didn’t even have a name on the back of his jersey. But at practice, he used to hit me with it so much that I just put my pride aside and said, ‘OK. You have to teach me that move.’ I stayed after practice with him every day to learn that move. All these years later, Allen Iverson is known for the crossover.”
16) Goodman League All-Stars 2005-2015 - Goodman League Baltimore
The Goodman League All-Stars, featuring a young NBA player Michael Beasley and streetball legend Curt "Trouble" Smith, brought together a mix of professional and streetball talent. The streetball version of the “Wu Tang Clan” the team featured a bevy of different rosters and lineups over the years. The team showcased the fusion of established youth players like Beasley and streetball icons like Trouble Smith. The presence of players like Lonnie Harrel, Hugh Baby Shaq Jones, James Gist, and Pops Mensah-Bonsu added depth to the roster. The Goodman League All-Stars' games became a spectacle, drawing fans with their unique blend of styles and skills.
While there were multiple renditions of this squad. most of these players were mainstays for the Goodman League. In their decade of dominance the All-Star team defeated high profile street ball teams like, Team And1 and Team Nike. They had an on-going rivalry with Team And1, the two teams faced off for more than 4 years from 2005-2008. The home advantage at Berry Farms was sizable, as the locals formed one of the best crowds of all time. Reknown for their attacks against players who’s game don’t matchup with their reps. The crowd was famous for dogging Gilbert Arenas the first time he showed up routinely chanting overrated, their “Hot Sauce wears panties” chant against the And1 team will live in legend for years to come, after Phillip “Hot Sauce” Champion refused to take the court against the Goodman team for more than 3 years in a row. Goodman All-Stars took 3 of 4 contests from team And1.
In 2012 a hyped game matched up Goodman League All-Stars and the Team NIKE with a select roster from New York City. Former Cincinnati standout Kenny Satterfield and “Too Hard to Guard” provided strong guard play for Team NIKE, however, the contributions of “Jamaican Rob”, “The Destroyer” (aka “Baby Shack” of the AND1 Mixtape Tour) and former Maryland Terrapin James Gist were just too much for the select team from NYC.
Many other talented players donned this roster, including Brian Chase (Virginia Tech, D-League), David Hawkins (Temple, Overseas), Eddie Basden (Charlotte, NBA), and Donte' Greene (NBA).
17) 2017 Birdies Revenge - Los Angeles, CA - Drew League
Over there run from 2013 to 2018 the team occasionally featured Iman Shumpert and Mike James. Shumpert the ultra athletic defensive specialist brought a fair amount of intensity in each of his Drew League matchups. The crafty veteran guard Mike James provided consistency and leadership when he played in the Drew.
The team's success, marked by individual consistency from the teams leader Franklin Session who took home the 2015 and 2017 MVP titles. Session who plays overseas has had his fair share of success against NBA players. "I love this!" said Session, who dropped 44 points at the expense of Chicago Bulls guard Denzel Valentine. Session dropped 40 points the day before that on a team that featured Atlanta Hawks forward Taurean Prince. Session spent last year in the National Basketball League of Canada, earning that league's Newcomer of the Year award. The guard also had his fair share of success against the likes of James Harden, Demar Derozan, Nick Young and Klay Thompson, just to name a few.
18) 1969 Brooklyn United - New York, NY - Rucker Pro Tournament
Members: Connie Hawkins (NBA) - Roger Brown (NBA) - Jackie Jackson - Ed “Czar” Simmons
Both Connie Hawkins and Roger Brown remain some of the most underrated talent to ever play in the NBA or ABA. Both were among the top players at their positions during their prime. Both were schoolboy legends in the Brooklyn section of New York City.
Both were sublime on the blacktop, Hawkins displaying his leaping ability and athletic prowess that earned him the nickname "The Hawk". Legendary NYC scout Tom Konchalski remembers the first time he saw Connie Hawkins was at P.S. 127 on the first Saturday in August 1959,” Konchalski remembers. “He played in white clam diggers. They said he had one pair of pants—he was that poor. He was playing against Tom Hoover, who outweighed him by 50 pounds. Hawkins went up and blocked Hoover’s shot and knocked him into the fence. In the late seventies, the bar in that fence was still bent from where Hoover crashed into it. “Those days at Molloy and chasing Connie Hawkins from playground to playground—the game just got in my blood.”
Roger Brown was one of the best two guards to ever play. After being blackballed by the NBA, because of a similar situation that happened to teammate Connie Hawkins. He joined the newly formed ABA and the Indiana Pacers, the Brooklyn native quickly became a crowd favorite in pro basketball. He left fans in awe, as they nicknamed him “The Man with 1,000 Moves”. Known for his very deep 3 point range and his ability to get buckets in the clutch, Brown led the Pacers to multiple championships in the 1970’s, even the media agreed he was among the best players in all of Basketball. In the Rucker Pro league Brown was just as dominant as he routinely dueled with the Boston Celtics Charlie Scott.
Streetball legend and Harlem Globetrotter "Jumpin" Jackie Jackson was an incredible athlete that was a tremendous vertical athlete at only 6’5. Jackson was the first player to start getting quarters off the top of the backboard. Ed “Czar” Simmons, a guy from Brooklyn who had a ton of game and helped provide depth for Brooklyn.
The Brooklyn United team faced off with all the renown teams from the pro league including Big Wilt Small's Paradise, The Rucker Pros, The Westsiders, The Milbank Pros and of course the Bronx Celtics. The team went by various names over the years of the tournament, Brooklyn United, Brooklyn USA, Brooklyn Pros and various others.
19) 2011 Team Nike - New York, NY - Dyckman League NYC
Members: Kenny Satterfield (NBA) - Tu Holloway (Xavier) - Gary Erving (Miss St.) - Jeremy Hazell (Seton Hall) - Adris DeLeon (2 Hard To Gard) - Aaron Williams - Dave Seagers - Al “Shep” - Quinton “T2” Hosley - Kavon “Happy Feet” Lynch - Vernon “2K13” Goodridge - Air Africa - Bj McFarlin
Team Nike was custom built by the brand to dominate play in NYC and beyond. The Team Nike roster, featured in the Dyckman League in 2011, showcased a lineup of top streetball talent. The roster spaned generation of streetball talent with the likes of Kenny Satterfield, Tu Holloway, Kee Kee Clark at the guards and forwards like Jeremy Hazell, Al Sheppard, Quinton Hosley and Vernon Goodridge at the forwards and you have one of the best collections of talent on the circuit. Everyone in NYC knew who Team Nike was. They had their own website and weekly episodes chronicling their journey. Multiple Nike cameras filmed every second of their games and conducted post game interviews. Consider them the 2011 Miami Heat of streetball –just with 10 stars instead of three – but a similar target on their backs.
The squad, coached by legendary Bingo Cole, rolled through its first few games at Dyckman. But Ooh-Way Records knocked them off their high horse with a victory in what was dubbed streetball’s "Game of the Decade" in front of more than 4,000 fans in Washington Heights. All the players on Team Nike could talk about was seeing Ooh-Way again in the Dyckman championship.
They looked dominant early in the Dyckman playoffs against United Brooklyn, which had NBA players Taj Gibson and J.J. Hickson. Cole’s team ended up having to hold on late. Dobie said the players and Cole had two separate meetings about going back to “Team Nike basketball” and ending the one-on-one isolation plays. Gibson, a Brooklyn native, was impressed. Team Nike its biggest lead of the game at 40-16 with 2:30 left before halftime. McFarland had 19 points and DeLeon added 11. Hickson led all scorers with 23 points. Gary Ervin had 16 points and Lloyd Clinton added 14.
“You always want to have a shot at revenge,” Team Nike guard Antawn (Anti-Freeze) Dobie said. “This is what everybody’s been waiting for. Everybody wanted Ooh-Way-Team Nike. Now they have it once again.” With legends like Pee Wee Kirkland on hand the two faced off in the 2011 Dyckman final. In highly contested final full of ups and downs, Nike triumphed in the face of adversity, defeating Ooh Way records 71-70, in front of a standing-room crowd of more than 3,000 people at Monsignor Kett Park.
The team came together one last time and won a city title in newly created Nike Tournament of Champions. They took on EBC champion X-Man and were able to pull away in the final for a 64-53 win in The Bronx. It completes the mission the group set out to accomplish when it was put together in the spring. The title is the second straight for coach Bingo Cole, Dobie, Al Sheppard, Keydren Clark and Anthony Glover, who won with Bingo’s All-Stars last year. "We knew what our goal was,” said guard Kenny Satterfield, who was named the game’s MVP. “Our goal wasn’t individuals. It’s not about this MVP. If it was me I wouldn’t have even given this out tonight.”
Later versions of Team Nike played a bevy of competition including the Goodman League All-Stars. Later versions of the team also featured players like Andre Barret (Seton Hall), Dahntay Jones (NBA), Royal Ivey (NBA) and Curtis Kelly (Iowa State).
20) 2011 Team Ooh-Way - New York, NY - Dyckman League NYC
Members: Sundiata Gaines (NBA) - Corey Fisher (Villanova) - Dwight Hardy (St. Johns) - Justin Burrell (St. Johns) - Darren Phillip - Corey “Homicide” Williams (Streetball)
Team OOH WAY in 2011, competing in the Dyckman League, made a significant impact by defeating Team Nike in the streetball game of the century. Stacked with terrific guards like All-American Corey Fisher of Villanova, St. John’s Dwight Hardy, and St. Johns Justin Burrell, Ooh-Way showcased a blend of college and streetball talent. With elite guard play, this may have been the best shooting playground team ever assembled. The only lost one game all summer and that game they only lost by 1 point.
In one of New York City streetball’s most memorable wins, 66-61, in a game labeled the biggest in the last decade. The game was tight the entire way, but in the end Hardy's 17 points and Fisher's 16 helped Ooh-Way upset Team Nike, 66-61. Team Nike, which was led by Dobie (11 points) and Satterfield (11), dropped to 5-1. Hardy knew that playing in Dyckman for the first time, he had to be on a highly competitive team to contend for a title. With Ooh-Way, he sees that opportunity. “We don’t have to prove ourselves,” Ooh-Way forward Darren Phillip said. “They wanted this commercial. They wanted to get into all the hoopla. I don’t do that.”
They rolled through the Dyckman league playoffs to face off with Team Nike in the final. They lost the game in an epic showdown that ended 71-70, in front of a standing-room crowd of more than 3,000 people at Monsignor Kett Park.
The seven players representing Ooh-Way included: Dwight "Top Shelf" Hardy, Corey "The Priceless One" Fisher, Darren "DP" Phillip, Justin "Megatron" Burrell, Brian "Hitman" Laing, Corey "Homicide" Williams and Sundiata "Yatta" Gaines.
21) 2016 BB4L - Los Angeles, CA - Drew League
Members: Terrace Ross (NBA), Baron Davis (NBA), Aaron Harrison (NBA), Stanley Johnson (NBA), Casper Ware (Overseas)
BB4L, featuring NBA players Baron Davis, Aaron Harrison, Stanley Johnson, and Terrance Ross reached the championship game in the 2016 Drew League. With a 14-0 record, the team showcased its dominance throughout the season. The championship matchup against Juglife highlighted the clash of NBA talents in the Drew League, with BB4L's core players contributing to their impressive run.
Davis was at the tail end of his NBA career, but the veteran UCLA product is still one of the craftiest guards in the whole Drew. Terrace Ross put on a show, the Portland native hit a few 50 balls for the team during the regular season. Showcasing his above the rim athletic ability and his long ball. Stanley Johnson was dynamic and hard to stop going to the rim. The Arizona product showcased his strength bullying defenders again and again in route to a championship. Long Beach product Casper Ware helped Baron Davis to run the show for BB4L, providing a bevy of clutch long distance shots.
They took down a Juglife led by Nick Young and Javell McGee in the much anticipated championship game. Checkout the video below for highlights of that game.
22) 2003 All Daz - Washington DC - Goodman League
Members: Gilbert Arenas (NBA), Curt Smith (Drake), Brain Chase (Virginia Tech) Noteable Ringers: Caron Butler (NBA), Nick Young (NBA)
Sponsored by clothing company All Daz, the team played mainly in Goodman League but also appeared in Georgetown’s famed Kenner league. Led by All-NBA performer Gilbert Arenas and Drake alumni Curt “Trouble” Smith. Smith was a perennial Goodman League All-Star and Baltimore legend who led All Daz from 2000 to 2010. Known for his ability to run a team and his deep shooting range.
Gilbert Arenas dominated the competition showing his ridiculous shooting range and offensive arsenal. Not known for his dunks, he even displayed a few above the rim assults. For a couple summers, the Washington Wizards star has shown up—solo—at Barry Farms in Southeast DC, one of the most notorious hoods in the nation’s capital, hooping at the Goodman League. No security, no entourage, his Range is parked on the street—and the Wizards, even if they wanted to, can’t do anything about it. “When I signed, I got the ‘Jordan clause’ put in,” Arenas says of his love-of-the-game exemption for offseason hoops. “Barry Farms—most stars wouldn’t even think about doing that,” says Wizards coach and DC native Eddie Jordan. He played in the league when he first got to the Wizards in 2003, all the way until 2011. During the 2007 season, Arenas dragged his Wizards teammates Caron Butler and Nick Young, as they joined All Daz when they were in town.
All Daz had an ongoing rivalry with 3rd Eye, as they featured sizable talent including Eddie Basden, Donte Green, Hugh “Baby Shaq” Jones and David Hawkins. A young high school Kevin Durant also occasionally played with 3rd Eye. The 2007 Goodman championship game went down in history, 3rd EYE faced off against All Daz. The contest went into overtime as both teams matched each other shot for shot. The game ended in controversy with a last-second call favoring 3rd EYE. Ex-NBA player Eddie Basden sealed the victory with a crucial free throw in overtime, making it a memorable showdown in the Goodman League.
In 2007 when Arenas played for All Daz. They played a team sponsored by the Baltimore apparel company known as H.O.B.O., an acronym for Helping Our Brothers Out. Fellow Wizards Caron Butler and Andray Blatche started the game for All Daz. Arenas entered the game after he parked his Ferrari. The commotion grew as the two-time NBA all-star took the court. "Damn!" a hard-featured man of maybe 50 said at court side. "Let's just make it H.O.B.O. against the Wizards."
All Daz also played in the Kenner Georgetown League. Where they had a memorable matchups with Steve Francis Hitmen Team. All Daz came out on top in 2000 and 2003 despite a loaded Hitman roster. It was the summer of 2000 and this was the most anticipated regular season matchup of the summer. Steve had a team called the Francis Hitmen and it was aptly named because they definitely killed folks. The roster read like an NBA team. It bolstered the likes of Moochie Norris, Lawrence Moten, Cuttino Mobley, Walt Williams, Jerome Williams, Obinna Ekezie, Jahidi White, and Victor Page. And guess who they lost to? Curt Smith, Lonnie Harrell, and literally some guys. It had everything you’d expect from a summer league game of this magnitude. Curt, beat Steve Francis by one point on a floater. Franchise showed out. He put up 59 points, showed off the bounce, put the handles on display, and knocked down some deep threes. That’s a great day at the office and usually ends in a win. Unfortunately, Curt was “Trouble” personified for Steve and crew this game. He finished with 62 points. In the 2000 Kenner championship game the highly anticipated rematch, the Francis Hitmen - minus the Franchise versus All Daz. But the collection of pros - couldn’t hold Curt Smith. Moochie Norris must have realized Smith couldn’t be stopped, because he mysteriously walked out of the gym with 5 minutes left in the third quarter. In the end, Smith hung 42 and racked up 12 dimes, en route to a 129-122 victory and Kenner League MVP honors. It was the second time of the summer All Daz beat the Hitmen. The Hitman faced off with All Daz again in 2003. This time Gilbert Arenas had his way leading All Daz to a victory in front of a packed house. You can watch the video below.
Kevin Durant, Caron Butler, Nick Young, Steve Francis, Michael Beasley, Lonnie Baxter, Juan Dixon are all notable pros that have laced up their shoes in Barry Farms.
23) 2000 Steve Francis Hitmen - Washington DC - Kenner League
Members: Steve Francis (NBA) Moochie Norris Lawrence Moten (Syracuse), Cuttino Mobley (NBA), Walt Williams (NBA), Jerome Williams (NBA), Obinna Ekezie (NBA), Jahidi White (NBA), Victor Page (Georgetown)
Sporting a lineup that included ample NBA talent Steve Francis, The Wizard Walt Williams, Moochie Norris and Jerome Williams. Wink even flew in Houston Rocket teammate Cuttino Mobley for a few runs. Remember Lawrence Moten and Victor Paige? Those two former Big East wreckers rounded out the squad.
Francis was known for his high scoring games while playing at Goodman League and Kenner League. His high of 63 points in Kenner League became something of myth in the year 2000, as the video floated around the internet. In the Kenner League Championship game in 2000 an epic showdown took place between Steve Francis' Hitmen and Curt Smith's team All Daz. Steve Francis, known for his NBA stardom, led a formidable lineup that read like an NBA roster. The Hitmen faced off against Curt Smith, Lonnie Harrell, and a group of streetball legends. The highly anticipated matchup featured a scoring duel between Francis and Smith, with both players breaking the Kenner League scoring record. In a dramatic finish, Smith's team secured a 121-120 victory, with Curt Smith's 62 points outshining Francis' 59. The game remains etched in Kenner League history as one of the most memorable and talked-about matchups. Legend has it that Francis 'showed' Smith up by digging out wads of money from his pockets, laying it on the court and/or giving it to fans, saying something to the effect of how he's so great because of money and finally exiting stage left.
24) 2012 Banks Law Firm - Greater NC Pro-AM
Members: Jerry Stackhouse (NBA) - Reggie Bullock (NBA) - Quincy Miller (NBA) - Bo Igram - JT Terell (USC)
The Greater North Carolina Pro Am has been a home to several of the states best college players. Alumni and current players of North Carolina, Duke, NC State, Davidson, Wake Forrest and many more have come out to play in this event. Always a hot spot for the newest 5 star freshman, plenty of lottery pics have come through over the years inlcuding Kyrie Irving, John Wall, Austin Rivers, Nolan Smith, Kyle Singler, Raymond Felton, Jerry Stackhouse, Rasheed Wallace and many more.
The 2012 Banks Law Firm, featuring NBA players Jerry Stackhouse and Reggie Bullock, played in the Greater North Carolina Pro-AM. In the championship game against DreamWorks, Bullock, Stackhouse, Bo Ingram, Quincy Miller, and USC’s J.T. Terrell ran over the opposing squad. Stackhouse's leadership, Bullock's tournament MVP performance, and the collective effort of the team led to a convincing victory. The intense matchup, marked by Stackhouse and Bullock's scoring prowess, solidified Banks Law Firm's triumph in the final.
Duke freshman Amile Jefferson, was the victim of several, vicious Stackhouse shot blocks, Rasheed Sulaimon struggled in his limited playing time, Rodney Hook threw up airballs, and aside from a few spectacular plays between Quinn Cook and N.C. Central’s Dominique Sutton, the DreamWorks team looked defeated and disconnected as soon as the second half started. Reggie Bullock, put up 31 points against Rasheed Wallace and Hairston. Bullock didn’t play at all during the regular season, but he joined Stackhouse’s Banks Law Firm team during the tournament, when it counted.
25) 2008 And1 Mixtape Team - Philadelphia, PA
Members: Kenny “Bad Santa” Brunner (Georgetown) - Troy “Escalade” Jackson (Louisville) - Aaron Owens (D2 All-American) - Tony “Go Get It” Jackson (Chicago State) - Wally “Main Event” Dixon (Rutgers) - John “Helicopter” Humphries (Tennessee State) - Andre “Silk” Poole (Overseas) - Hugh “Baby Shaq” Jones
The And1 Mixtape was born out of a highlight reel of Rafer Alston at the Rucker. Years later the And1 Mixtape gave birth to Team And1. From 2003-2009, AND1 brought together there best lineup of streetball legends, each bringing their unique style to the blacktop. They would then tour the country with stops in each major city, where they would attempt to find any streetball legends worth while to join the team, the show streetball was featured on ESPN and helped push forward the popularity of streetball in the 2000’s.
Kenny Brunner and Aaron Owens, known for their entertaining moves and unmatched handle, led the squad. Aaron Owens helped the Mobile Revelers win the D-League championship in 02-03, and also played in the first division of the Israeli Basketball Premier League. He recalled scoring 26 points on perennial IBBL power Maccabi Tel Aviv. Brunner was a high school All-American and top 10 recruit nationally from Compton, that played with future NBA player Tayshaun Prince at Dominguez high school. He went on to play for legendary coaches John Thompson and Jerry Tarkanian.
The team's frontcourt, featuring Troy Jackson and Tony Jackson, added a formidable presence in the middle. The perimeter threats of Andre Poole and John Humpries ensured a well-balanced attack. While touring the country the team would often feature top NBA players that were sponsored by And1. Players like Ricky Davis, Shawn Marion, Rafer Alston and Mike James.
Despite being an exhibition for entertainment, this AND1 team showcased serious talent, with multiple Division I players and seasoned overseas pros. There ongoing rivalry with the Goodman League All-Stars showed that And1 could play real basketball. In 4 matchups the two teams tied 2-2. The Goodman League tied the series up winning 96-93 in 2008, even though And1’s best player Kenny Brunner was not in the game. And1 did manage to win the game in 2006 and 2007. In 2006 they took down the Goodman All-Stars which featured Curt “Trouble” Smith, Michael Beasley, Pops Mensa-Bonsu, and Lonnie Harrel. In 2008 they featured a similar lineup with Lonnie Baxter in place of Michael Beasley, These victories over the Goodman League All-Stars highlighted their ability to perform under pressure in a hostile environment, proving that their skills extended beyond the tricks. They would also play at Legendary courts like the Kingdom and Dyckman in New York.
Its hard to rank them higher, they had a big roster that was countinutly rotating at all times. However the best version of the team definitely includes Kenny Brunner, Aaron Owens and Hugh Jones.
26) 2002 Def Jam - New York, NY - Rucker EBC Classic
Members: Rafter Alston (NBA) - Troy Jackson “Escalade” (Louisville) - Tim Giddens “Headache”
Probably the 4th best team from the EBC Rucker Tournaments in the early 2000s. The team featured playground hero Rafer “Skip To My Lou” Alston. The point guard who came up in the mid 90’s had the whole city buzzing. Rod Strickland confirms. "One of my partners, Mike Dean, kept telling me about him, so I just went over to Rucker to see him play," he says. "And right away I knew he was something special. Just the skill level. You know how they play over on 155th, a little clownish at times with all of the tricks and everything? But Skip just had instincts; his instincts were incredible to me. His passing ability, his dribbling ability. And then, he was playing defense! I mean, out in the park? He was really picking guys up and trying to lock guys down. After that, I would only go to the park to see him; I wasn't trying to see anybody else."
“Skip To My Lou” was in rare form all summer in 2002. Appearing in multiple games for Def Jam and putting on a show in the process. His team lost a close game 79-76 to a Baron Davis led Murder INC team. Alston took on NBA All-Star Steve Francis during the 2002 summer as Def Jam faced Mary J. Blige. Steve Francis finished with 31 points and 4 assists while Skip ended with 21 points and 4 assists. But it was Def Jam who came out with the win.
Make no mistake about it Rafer Alston was the top playground player in the 90’s and 2000s. A modern day urban legend, the Queens product was one of the only players to play very little high school basketball and still find himself in the NBA. His game was honed and proved at Rucker Park. Making him a favorite not only at Rucker but also across the nation. His unique flair helped create the And1 mixtape and helped bring streetball to the forefronts of pop culture in the early 2000s.
Troy Jackson, brother of ex-NBA point guard Mark jackson, was a mainstay at the Rucker and with And1. Jacksons friendship with Rafer Alston led to him eventually being offered by team And1. The two shared a unique chemistry on the court with Skip routinely finding the big man for easy buckets. Tim Giddens known as “Headache” filled the other guard position for Def Jam, Giddens too was well known for his time with the And1 team. At Rucker he was a crafty ball handler that excelled in the fast pace open court environment. Legend has it Headache earned his nickname at EBC after shaking a defender so bad the crowd threw aspirin tablets all over the court.
27) 1995 A&G Imports - Hampton, VA - Hampton Roads Pro-Am
Members: Allen Iverson (NBA) - Tony Rutland (Wake Forest)
A&G Imports in 1995, featuring Allen Iverson and Tony Rutland, left an indelible mark on the Hampton Roads Pro-Am. In their first meeting of the summer, Allen Iverson and Joe Smith combined for 81 points in a Hampton Roads Pro-Am contest.
In years past, the Hampton Pro Am included names such as Joe Smith, J.R. Reid, Bryant Stith, Kenny Gattison, Kent Bazemore, Mike Scott and Lamont Strothers. During the 1995 season the rosters included Tony Rutland of Wake Forest, Mario Mullen of Old Dominion, Ganon Baker of UNC Wilmington and Michael Evans from Norfolk’s Booker T. Washington High. Not to mention the most famous players of the tournament Allen Iverson and Joe Smith.
In their second matchup, Georgetown’s Iverson matched the first game's total by himself - dropping in an unheard-of 81 points - to lead A&G Imports over the Hampton Roads Admirals, 176-170, in front of about 700 fans. Down by 25 in the third quarter, A&G Imports mounted a comeback behind Iverson's quick feet and hot hand, securing a berth in the championship game. The team's ability to rally and Iverson's dynamic play showcased the competitive spirit the future MVP would show in the NBA. The NBA number 1 overall draft pick Joe Smith scored 61 in a losing effort. `Chuck took over in the fourth quarter - that's what happened,'' said A&G's Tony Rutland, a Wake Forest sophomore and former high school teammate of Iverson's. "He played his game. He was on today.’’ ``He (Iverson) really showed off,'' lottery pick Joe Smith said. ``His jumper has improved a lot. He's always been able to drive, because he's so quick.'' A & G Imports ended up winning it all later in the summer.
There was no footage of Allen Iverson playing at the Hampton Pro-Am. But we did dig up this footage of Iverson playing in Philadelphia's famed Baker League with the likes of Rod Strickland, Doug Overton and Larry Hughes.
28) 2017 Most Hated Players - Los Angeles, CA - Drew League
Members: Demar DeRozan (NBA) - Nick Young (NBA) - Jordan Clarkson (NBA) - DJ Shelton (FIBA Star) - Jordan Bell (NBA) - Josh Christopher (NBA)
The Most Hated Players have been a mainstay in the Drew League for multiple seasons. They go deep in the Drew League playoffs each year. Led by NBA players Demar DeRoza and Nick Young, the duo routinely combine for 60+ points. FIBA Star DJ Shelton helped take the offensive load off the two NBA stars.
From 2015 to 2019 the team has featured additional NBA talent like Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle and Jordan Bell. In the 2015 season playoff semi-final. DeMar DeRozan and Nick Young led MHP over Hank’s Houdini’s All-Stars 64 to 63. DeMar finished with 32 points and 13 boards. In the championship game against a James Harden led team, Derozan finished the game with 28 and Swaggy P went for 25. In the end it was James Harden that had the last laugh, sealing the game with a deep 3 to win the championship 98-93.
In 2017 the team added Julius Randle for a few regular season games, the 3 players earned rave reviews at Drew League and drew big crowds. Including a regular season matchup with James Hardens LA Unified team, the game featured Chris Paul, James Harden, Nick Young, Iman Shumpert, DeMar DeRozan, Marvin Bagley, Tim Hardaway Jr, Dorell Wright, Jordan Bell and Julius Randle
In 2018 the team looked to be a favorite, but the oversized Glen “Big Baby” Davis took the game over in the semi final. Most Hated Players had no answer for “Big Baby” who cruised to 34 points in the win.
The 2019 team was able to finally win the Championship despite the absence of Demar DeRozan. Jordan Bell, Josh Christopher and Dorrell Wright were added to the roster after they were dominated by Glen “Big Baby” Davis in 2018. The move paid off, as they rolled through the playoff and won the final game against a team led by Montrezl Harrel.
29) 2011 Team Jamison - Greater NC Pro-AM
Members: Jerry Stackhouse (NBA) - Josh Powell (NBA) - Raymond Felton (NBA) - Dominique Sutton - Emanuel Chapman
The team named after North Carolina Tarheel Great Antawn Jamison was led by 3 NBA players in Jerry Stackhouse, Raymond Felton and Josh Powell. During the summer of 2011 James McAdoo, Desmond Hubert, Harrison Barnes, John Henson, P.J. Hairston, Luke Davis, Dexter Strickland, Leslie McDonald, Rasheed Wallace and Raymond Felton all played in the Greater NC Pro-Am.
Team Jamison’s victory over a previously undefeated Sheraton Imperial showcased a collective effort, with Felton's impressive play earning him recognition. Team Jamison walked away with the 102-91 dub, and here are a few of the guys who showed out in the process: Raymond Felton showed up when it mattered most and left NC Central with a championship. The former UNC lead guard also had the play of the day, yanking Nolan Smith real bad with a filthy crossover, but missing the subsequent J that followed. Showing that he still has a little gas in the tank, Stackhouse was a menace in the mid-post and finished with 23 points.
Unlike most summer league games, it was clear from the tip that both teams were playing for the W and not for the crowd or the highlights. Rasheed Wallace served as the consistent vocal leader for Sheraton Imperial, who just couldn’t overcome the lineup of Jerry Stackhouse, Josh Powell, Raymond Felton, Dominique Sutton and Emanuel Chapman. There weren’t behind-the-back passes, off-the-glass dunks, or matador defenders in this game. It was a game filled with charges, loose balls and straight up team basketball that most definitely had a bit of an old school feel to it.
30) 2010 Bay Area Dream Team - San Francisco, CA - SF Pro-AM
Members: Matt Barnes (NBA) - Jason Kapono (NBA) - Cardell Butler (Utah St, And1) - Ali Thomas (USF) - LyRyan Russell (USF) - Chris Kelly - Chris Edwards Jr. - DeEnd Parker (UCLA) - Collin Chiverton (East Wash)
Matt Barnes was a mainstay in the Bay Area Pro-Am in the 2000’s. He really helped the league to survive and helped to bring big name players like Steph Curry, Tyreke Evans and Aaron Gordon to the event. Sponsored by Barnes entertainment, The Bay Area Dream Team of 2010, featured NBA players Matt Barnes and Jason Kapono. With a roster comprising a mix of NBA and college talent, the team showcased versatility and skill. The championship victory underscored the team's depth, with notable performances from players like Utah State's Cardell "Ballaholic" Butler and Ali Thomas. The Bay Area Dream Team's run in the SF Pro-Am highlighted their ability to blend professional and streetball styles, leaving a lasting impression on the tournament.
Multiple time league MVP Ali Thomas ran the point perfectly, as he dished off to NBA sharpshooters Jason Kapono and Matt Barnes. The high scoring Butler was a perfect compliment at the two guard. Led by NBA players Matt Barnes and Jason Kapono this team helped return the SF Pro-Am to former glories. Barnes and Kapono were not without help as the team featured. Deend Parker and Colin Chiverton helped the scoring.
Other versions of the Dream Team included the Bay Area's own Aaron Gordon (Denver Nuggets), Kiwi Gardner (Providence) and Tyreke Evans (Sacramento Kings). The 2011 and 2012 versions of the team would each take 2nd place in the Pro Am.
31) 2000 76ers PROS - Baker League All Stars - Philadelphia, PA - Baker League
Members: Raja Bell - Speedy Claxton - Rodney Buford - Pepe Sanchez
The team featured emerging 76ers rookies like Raja Bell, Speedy Claxton, Rodney Buford, and Pepe Sanchez. This squad, rich in talent, included a blend of rookies and second-year players from the Philadelphia 76ers. Its ironic that this 76ers team would end up making the real NBA finals that very season. But maybe the Magic started in the Baker League with the 76ers.
The annual scrimmage between the Baker League All-Stars and the Philadelphia 76ers' summer league team prooved to be exciting once again. The Sixers surprisingly led by only one point. However, the top players on Philadelphia's rookie/free-agent squad -- Raja Bell, Speedy Claxton and Rodney Buford -- did not play at all in the second quarter. The Sixers began to pull away in the second, as Philadelphia point guard and former Temple star Pepe Sanchez ignited his team's offense with great passing. Also contributing offensively with a few Iverson-like crossover moves past his defender was Claxton. The backcourt duo of Sanchez and Claxton helped their team extend its lead to 87-80 by the end of the third quarter. The Baker League All-Stars were never able to get close in the fourth quarter, and the 2,800 in attendance began to head out with 3:30 left on the game clock. The Sixers eventually won by a score of 114-104.
32) 1983 DISCO 4 - New York, NY - Rucker EBC
Members: Pearl Washington (Syracuse) - Richie Adams (UNLV) - Kenny Hutchinson (Arkansas)
During a broadcast of the Mr. Magic and Marley Marl radio show on WHBI in New York City the local rap group, Cash Crew issued a live on-air challenge to another up and coming rap group, the Disco Four, to play a basketball game. At the time, the show was the only stricly hip-hop broadcast in the nation, and a must listen for many of the youth in Harlem. Word spread, and the next day hundreds turned out to see the Disco Four dismantled by the Cash Crew by 59 points. Over the next few weeks other artists like Sugar Hill Gang, Grandmaster Flash, wanted to join, so they organized a round robin tournament called the Entertainers Basketball Classic. To take things to another level, some of the best players in New York were brought in as ringers to complete alongside the rappers. The quality of the play went way up, most of the rappers were forced to the sideline. By 1987 the crowds were so large that the EBC found a permanent home at Rucker Park.
Disco 4 was loaded with Harlem locals like Pearl Washington (Syracuse) and (UNLV’s) Richie Adams and (Arkansas’s) Kenny Hutchinson, serious players. They dominated the Rucker EBC in the early years of the tournament.
Richie “The Animal” Adams really dominated the paint and could play well above the rim. He was a supreme athlete in any park. Pearl Washington, the dynamic play making guard had one of the nicest handles in the game. In the 1980’s Pearl was a NYC legend staring at Boys & Girls high before becoming an All-American performer at Syracuse. Between Pearl and the Animal, crowds were pleased all summer long. They won the tournament easily that summer.
33) 2002 SF City - San Francisco, CA - SF Pro Am
Members: Jason Richardson (NBA) - Josh Childress (NBA) - Ali Thomas - LyRyan Russell - Dawayne Fontana - Rob Little
Featuring the electric Jason Richardson and Stanford star Josh Childress, this team won it all in 2002. Including a victory against a South Bay team that featured Gilbert Arenas. Jason Richardson was downright spectacular reining 3s and a bevy of hammers, including an alley oop windmill that still lives in Bay Area lure. This squad featured a blend of seasoned players and emerging talents, with a deep roster of contributors, including Ali Thomas, LyRyan Russell, and Dante Sawyer, the team dominated the competition.
34) 1985 Team Slitz - Chicago, IL - Chicago Beer League
Members: Michael Jordan - Orlando Wooldridge
Led by Michael Jordan, this team was not written about a ton. A young Michael Jordan showed up when they held games at Chicago State University, and he'd hoop for the Schlitz Malt Liquor squad. Some incredible NBA players balled out at Chicago State in the ‘80s. Chicago natives like Maurice Cheeks, Mark Aguirre, and Isiah Thomas would often show up to play in front of the 4,000+ fans that showed up in Chicago State’s 2,700-seat arena. Chicago Bulls players in town for the offseason, such as Reggie Theus and Orlando Woolridge, would also come by. Sometimes, a player like Terry Cummings or even Patrick Ewing would happen to be in town and lace-up their high-tops.
Sam Smith wrote that Jordan showed up out of the blue one evening. Once there, he decided he wanted some higher-level competition on that sweltering Chicago night. “So he asked league organizers to call Isiah Thomas and the Dallas Mavericks` Mark Aguirre, who were home for the summer.” Thomas did come out and stole the show. A former Chicago high school star playing at San Diego State in 1985 named Tracy Dildy wanted to test himself against Thomas. The Detriot Piston was, by then, a four-time NBA All-Star. Smith reported that Dildy initially got the better of Thomas, hitting “a couple of jump shots on Thomas.” Before the hall of fame point guard launced into his showtime ball handling routine.
If anyone could add to this story of this team it would be greatly appreciated. The photo below of Michael Jordan, Joe Daughrity and Fred 'Flip' Shepherd. Chicago basketball royalty at the Schlitz Malt Liquor Summer League, July, 1985.
35) 1990 Team Dykman - New York, NY - NY Pro Am
Members: Kenny “The Jet” Smith (NBA) -Mark Jackson (NBA)
This team featured two of the best guards to come out of New York City in Kenny Smith & Mark Jackson. The team played and won the NYC Pro-Am, outside of that little is known about this squad. Smith's impactful contributions and partnership with Jackson contributed to Dykman's rise as one of the best teams in the Pro-Am. Their collaboration and individual skills added flair and excellence to Dykman's gameplay, making them a standout presence in the competitive Pro-Am league. While Jackson had played in the league since 1987, Kenny Smith will became a big factor in helping Dyckman have one of the best Pro-Am teams ever.
36) 1991 Coleman-Smith All-Stars - St. Cecilia - Detroit, MI
Members: Derrick Coleman (NBA), Steve Smith (NBA)
St. Cecelia is the Rucker park of the midwest. This small church gym has featured elite NBA stars like Jalen Rose, Dave Bing, Chris Webber, Steve Smith, Derrick Coleman, Isiah Thomas, Greg Kelser, Phil Hubbard, Earl Cureton, and Terry Duerod, St. Cecelia's emerged as the place where Michigan players sought elite competition.
Jalen Rose got into scraps with Steve Smith here and he discovered his father the late Jimmy Smith was actually a basketball regular at the very same place he laced his shoes up. Legend has it that Rose would team with Chris Webber and Vashon Lenord one summer. However little records have been recovered. The Pistons Isiah Thomas reportedly ran on the same team as Greg Kelser, Phil Hubbard and Earl Cureton back in the early 80’s. But again, not a lot of reference can be found.
St Cecelia was a hotbed of Detroit Talent but not much is known as far as individual teams go. This team were led by NBA All-Star Steve Smith and 2nd year NBA pro Derrick Coleman. At 6'9 Coleman was thought to be one of the best power forwards in the entire world.
37) 1996 Kenny’s Kings - Brooklyn, NY - Various Tournaments
Members: Booger Smith - Charles Jones (LIU) - Jason Hoover (Manhattan) - Javone Moore (Canisius) - Seldon Jefferson (WVU) - Anthony “Biz” Heyward (And1)
Led by star “Booger” Smith and subject of the featured documentary Soul In The Hole, which you can watch below. Its a fun and colorful documentary led by the mysterious and unpredictable Booger Smith.
Kenny’s Kings, were a formidable force in 1990s Brooklyn basketball. Standing at just 5’9”, Booger Smith defied expectations with his astonishing dribbling and passing skills, coupled with cat-like quickness on the court. The 1994 documentary "Sole In The Hole" and Booger's Sports Illustrated cover in 1995 showcased his prominence in the basketball scene in the 90s. Often regarded as the best point guard in the city before the reign of Rafer Alston and Stephon Marbury. His ability to control the game and make plays on both ends of the court solidified his reputation as a point guard prodigy.
The team had plenty of talent besides Booger, Charles Jones was one of the best scorers in all of New York City. He played for LIU and led them to their first NCAA tournament in 13 years, after transferring from Rutgers. Jones was slender and versatile 6'3" guard who is what basketball people refer to as a scorer. Not a shooter. Not a gunner. Not a bomber. Not a slasher. A scorer. He led all Division I players in scoring, with 30.1 points per game in his senior season. Jones is a good friend of Booger's, having played with him for years on Kenny's Kings and other clubs. It is a haunting aspect of Soul in the Hole that in candid pregame huddles, opposing teams talk about stopping Booger but are largely unconcerned about Jones and his mates. Other star power includes Jason Hoover, a former all-conference player from Manhattan College; Javone Moore, the all time assists leader at Canisius; and Seldon Jefferson, the 1996-97 team MVP at West Virginia.
Kenny’s Kings played in various tournaments including The Rucker EBC and the West 4th street tournament at the Cage. Kenny’s Kings even continued to play in the EBC years after Boogers dominance in NYC ended.
As we conclude this exploration of street basketball's vibrant history, we extend our gratitude to the Rucker 50, EBC Tournament, Dyckman League, Goodman League, Kenner League, NC Greater Pro Am, SF Bay Area Pro Am, and the New York Post for sharing stories and rare pictures that encapsulate the essence of these iconic competitions. Many of these leagues continue to thrive, providing a platform for the top local talents in each region. The blacktops, once a sanctuary for the best summer basketball, remain witness to the ongoing legacy of the game. We invite you to drop a comment, share your insights, and let us know if there are more tales to uncover, especially about the best Chicago Team or the formidable squads that graced the courts of St. Cecilia.
The allure of playground or streetball transcends the game itself; it resonates as a beautiful metaphor reminiscent of the late Tupac Shakur's evocative imagery of the rose that grew from the concrete. These courts and tournaments stand as pure celebrations of community and talent, often emerging as beacons of resilience in the face of less-than-fortunate circumstances. Serving as a great escape and a communal celebration, they become havens for those born into situations that were less than ideal. In the midst of poverty and struggles with drug use that sometimes cast shadows on social communities, these playgrounds provide a platform for fostering love and unity—a much-needed escape in times when it is needed more than ever. The players electrifying performances offer the youth a canvas to dream, inspiring hope and aspirations beyond the constraints of their surroundings.
Soul In The Hole
The Goodman League
On Hallowed Ground - History of The Rucker
The Rucker EBC
Team Nike Series
The Drew League
History of The Game
And1 Streetball ESPN Series