EBC Rucker Park Championship 2003
Monday night was the blackout-altered date for the 2003 Entertainer's Basketball Classic championship game at Rucker Park. The matchup is Terror Squad vs. S.Carter. Terror Squad, run by rapper Fat Joe, who wear green uniforms, got to the final game with help from Stephon Marbury, Rafer Alston, Kareem Reed, Zach Marbury and Adrian Walton. S.Carter, named after owner Jay-Z, made it to the championship with help from Sebastian Telfair, Jamal Crawford, John Strickland, Reggie Freeman and Smush Parker. Rucker Park was insanely crowded, with thousands of fans and plenty of media members left outside unable to get in. InsideHoops.com was there in the second row near the entrance to the court, recording the evening. We present this exclusive report on the night's sequence of events. The game was scheduled to start at 6pm.
6:40pm: A few Terror Squad members are making their way onto the court.
6:41pm: A shirtless Stephon Marbury is in the park, but not yet in the general court area, and has partially climbed a fence to see over part of the crowd and watch the court.
6:42pm: Marbury jumps over the fence and is now on the side of it that allows a quick walk to the court.
6:44pm: For reasons unknown, Marbury jumps back over the fence, away from the court entrance area.
6:45pm: The court announcers tell everyone to give a big hand for special guest Kool Herc, a legend in rap music.
6:45pm: About four extremely muscular guys in army fatigues and diamond-studded gold chains around their necks enter the general court area.
6:50pm: Inside Hoops main man Shawnelle Scott is shooting around a bit on the court. He's on S.Carter.
6:52pm: Rafer "Skip to my Lou" Alston, holding hands with an attractive woman, enters the court. He's on Terror Squad.
6:53pm: Zach Marbury, just outside the court entrance area, stands yawning.
6:55pm: One of the announcers starts telling a story about the blackout. There hasn't been any music yet.
6:57pm: A gorgeous girl in a cowboy hat asks me for a lighter.
6:59pm: Captain Nappy, a streetballer, enters the court area. He's on Terror Squad.
7:00pm: Silence ends, and the court DJ starts playing the Terror Squad introduction music.
7:01pm: The announcers introduce Michael Phillips, a sax player who holds the world record for holding a single note. He plays the national anthem.
7:03pm: Zach Randolph enters the court area. He's on Terror Squad. Fat Joe's brother enters the court as well.
7:04pm: Finally, an S.Carter player or two show up. Smush Parker is one.
7:05pm: A Jay-Z song starts to play.
7:06pm: Shawnelle Scott of S.Carter, who has been walking back and forth on and off the court all this time, re-enters the court.
7:12pm: Stephon Marbury, still shirtless, enters the court. He's on Terror Squad. I catch his eye, point to the InsideHoops.com logo on the new shirt I'm wearing. Marbury smirks and nods.
7:26pm: Inside Hoops' other main man Fat Joe, dressed in black baseball hat, black shirt, jewelry around his neck and blue jean-shirts, arrives and enters the court area and holds his arms crossed above his head. Bronx residents in the crowd respond in kind.
7:27pm: Kareem Reed is around. He's on Terror Squad.
7:33pm: The announcer invites the crowd to give themselves a big round of applause. The crowd ignores the invitation.
7:35pm: John "The Franchise" Strickland enters the court. He's on S.Carter. THe crowd cheers a bit.
7:38pm: Shawnelle Scott re-enters the court, seemingly for the 800th time. I ask him why the players keep walking back and forth. "Technical difficulties," he tells InsideHoops.com. "Minor difficulties."
7:40pm: The crowd starts chanting "Jay-Z's scared!" over and over, for about a minute or so.
7:41pm: A random guy in the crowd near me starts saying that the referees just left the court.
7:42pm: An announcer proposes to everyone that Fat Joe and Terror Squads be declared champions.
7:43pm: An announcer starts saying "It's not going to happen, it's not going to happen." There are tons of Terror Squad members here, but barely any S.Carter, still. Some players start to exit the court area.
7:45pm: People in the higher seats start cheering because they see a few more players all coming into the court entrance area.
7:48pm: The announcer says "We have no refs. We have no refs." A few seconds later he says, "We have one ref."
7:49pm: Another announcer says loudly, "The referees are on their way back, there will be a game, calm down. Everyone off the court, go to your seats, NBA TV, start filming."
7:50pm: Fat Joe, who runs Terror Squad, took an announcer's mic and loudly told the fans (paraphrase) that he'll take this forfeit win and take the championship, he accepts the forfeit, he's been here for two hours, he doesn't have to beg people to come to the park. And that he knew they (S.Carter) were scared. The thing is, at this point there are about eight S.Carter members there and ready to play. But, they did almost all show up extremely late.
7:50pm: Right after the above announcement, Fat Joe and dozens of his friends rapidly exit the court. Fans boo the announcement, and boo as they leave the court.
7:53pm: InsideHoops.com records EBC founder Greg Marius loudly announcing the following to the crowd: "Listen. All these teams come out here and they play for nine weeks for all of us. And regardless of whatever the outcome, you should never disrespect no man, because Fat Joe and whoever else come out here, they love what we do, and ya'll sit here and disrespect them, and I don't think that was right. No matter what. Ya'll can boo all you want. Ya'll can boo all you want. Just like you stand in line, that man made sure that all these NBA players and street players come out here, just as well as Fubu, S.Carter, MBK and the rest of them. And all we did was show them that we didn't care, which is wack! Be sure to show everybody that played in this tournament, that we appreciate what they do. And I want ya'll to give everybody a round of applause. [The crowd does start to applaud]. I can't hear ya'll! Because if ya'll don't care, I'm not going to care about coming here no more. Because when the tournament ends, me and my staff start trying to put this together. And we're going to be not appreciate? That sh*t is wack, and I don't mean to curse, but that's how I feel."
7:56pm: The actual players are now all exiting the court area. Their friends and benches are leaving as well.
8:00pm: An InsideHoops.com source tells me that one of the original arguments that evening was who of all of Terror Squad's friends were going to get to be right at the bench area, as opposed to having to try to squeeze behind it in the general fan area.
Well, despite the above statement by Marius, we all know that he cares, that the fans care, and the players also care. Rucker Park will be in full effect next summer as it always is. This has been an exclusive InsideHoops.com report.