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ENTERTAINER'S BASKETBALL CLASSIC August 16, 2002
Entertainer's Basketball Classic Rucker Park Championship Game

 


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Thursday evening it was beautiful but hot outside, with even hotter action on the court.

The Entertainer's Basketball Classic, at Rucker Park in New York City, had its championship game last night. The park was packed to capacity, with hundreds of fans left outside praying to be let in. Herb Williams was in the park, as was playground legend Peewee Kirkland, some former Knicks, and others. The Entertainer's Basketball Classic playoffs are one of the best summer events in NYC. As a representative of Inside Hoops, I took my usual VIP-section seat (ok, there are no seats, my usual "bench area" is more like it) behind one of the baskets. The matchup was Terror Squad against Ruff Ryders. Terror Squad, run by rapper Fat Joe, who is sick of losing close Rucker playoff games year after year, stacked the desk and piled stars onto his roster. Kareem "Best Kept Secret" Reid, Stephon Marbury, Zach Marbury, Lenny Cooke, Ron "True Warrior" Artest, and John Strickland (originally nicknamed "Baby Panda," then known as "The Franchise," and now being referred to as "the Re-animator") all suited up in red. Ruff Ryders was basically Seton Hall point guard Andre Barrett (nicknamed "Dre the point" and also "the One") and various players like High Octane and Pooda the Gangsta who have big heart, but not the level of talent the Terror Squad stars possess.

John Strickland dominated the first half, unleashing his usual inside power game, scoring in bundles, and always making sure to hit the crowd with his typical arms-raised celebration after every basket he produced. Terror Squad maintained a double digit lead, but never totally ran away with the game. "There's too many Marburys!" yelled the announcers when the two brothers were stepping it up. Meanwhile, Andre Barrett carried the Ruff Ryders.

In the second half, things got more physical on the inside. Not that the first half wasn't physical. But while Terror Squad continued to control the inside, banging and delivering some pain, the Ruff Ryders started returning the favor with some banging of their own. See, normally, the Ruff Ryders control the paint, but today they were the underdogs in that department. So, it started getting a bit wild on the inside. At one point Ron Artest, who was playing a bit out of control and getting mad, grabbed the basketball and fired it over the fence and out of the park, delaying the game for a minute or so. But that was the only extracurricular event that occured. The rest was just fearless, rugged basketball. In the end, Ruff Ryders, led by Barrett, fought back and tried to pull it closer, but Terror Squad was too much. Fat Joe and friends pulled out an 80-69 win, and the celebration was on.

It was a fun summer. InsideHoops.com has a few interviews from the park that will be posted soon, so keep checking back.

 

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