Holcombe Rucker (1926-1965) was a playground director in Harlem for the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation from 1948 to 1964. He founded the New York City pro-am basketball tournament that still bears his name, and is the namesake of a world-famous basketball court in Harlem. Rucker, who grew up in Manhattan, started the tournament in 1947 at a playground on 7th Avenue between 128th and 129th streets. He insisted that education be a fundamental part of the Rucker League, in keeping with its motto — "Each one, teach one." Through his efforts, over 700 individuals were able to obtain basketball scholarships to help finance their education. The tournament grew into the stuff of legend in the 1960s, when many NBA stars such as Wilt Chamberlain and later Julius Erving participated. Rucker died of cancer in 1965 at age 38. In 1974 the city renamed P.S. 156 Playground, located at 155th Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard, as Holcombe Rucker Playground in dedication to his community efforts. Rucker's basketball tournament had moved there in 1965, and Holcombe Rucker Basketball Court — now arguably the most famous street court in the world — remains a proving ground for the region's most talented players.
Offered here is Julius Erving’s 23” tall trophy received in honor of being named “21st CENTURY INVITATIONAL TOURNEY HOLCOMBE RUCKER MEMORIAL AWARD M.V.P.” The award titling is engraved on a metal placard affixed to the heavy marble base. The elaborate trophy also features four metal basketball player figures atop the base and a large gold metal chalice supporting two more figures. Erving’s revolutionary style of play was honed on the playground’s of New York, and carried through to his dazzling professional career.
Includes a signed LOA from Julius Erving.