|espnW.com: Features & Profiles|
From London to the Lower East Side, Holcombe Rucker Park in Harlem is known as the mecca of street basketball. Although Rucker Park is world-renowned for the NBA players it hosts (like the Thunder's Kevin Durant and Lakers' Kobe Bryant), each summer, streetballing women with deadly crossovers participate in the historic Entertainer's Basketball Classic.
The EBC originated in 1980 in Mount Morris Park in east-central Harlem and consisted of two rival male rap groups, Disco Four and Crash. In 1985, EBC found its permanent home in Rucker Park at 155th Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard, where it has played host to basketball icons such as Julius "Dr. J" Erving, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Earl "The Pearl" Monroe.
From professional athletes to financial secretaries to a mother and her kids on the sideline, you can see players from all walks of life at the Rucker.
Allison Glover, 33, a former Fairfield University power forward turned executive assistant, grabs rebounds in the paint while her husband and 4-year-old daughter, Brianna, blow kisses from the bleachers during timeouts.
"By playing at the Rucker, I'm laying a foundation for my daughter to let her know she can do anything she wants in a male-dominated society," Glover said. "If Mommy can do it, so can she."
Her husband, Brandon Glover, added, "Having me in the stands is different from the norm but I'm fine with that. I'm cheering on my wife while she plays at the famous Rucker Park. It doesn't get any better."
For the past decade, at least once a week -- Tuesday and Thursday this season -- is ladies' night at Rucker Park. New York's finest female ballers hit the court to amaze below the rim. This year's six-team women's tournament in the EBC will culminate with a championship game in the third week of August.
WNBA players Kia Vaughn, Teresa Weatherspoon and Epiphanny Prince have made cameos in this concrete coliseum.
"Being from New York, I played a couple of AAU tournaments there growing up," said Vaughn, a center for the New York Liberty. "The legend of Rucker Park is that the greatest ballers play there. It must be true since I was there."
Although it's called ladies' night, there's nothing dainty about the weekly showdown between these roundball warriors.
"The game is very aggressive," said Yolanda Rousse, who plays for the team Black Pearl. "We are banging bodies down low. You have to go hard to get to the rack. You leave with battle wounds."
One member of Black Pearl showed off a bloody thumbnail while others boasted of scrapes and bruises.
Rousse added: "We're ballers. That's what we do. We show up to play."