The real basketball dealthe inside story of Harlems legendary tournament and the pros and playground legends who have made it world famous.Earl The Goat Manigault. Herman Helicopter Knowings. Joe The Destroyer Hammond. Richard Pee Wee Kirkland. These and dozens of other colorfully nicknamed men are the Asphalt Gods, whose astounding exploits in the Rucker Tournament, often against multimillionaire NBA superstars, have made them playground divinity. First established in the 1950s by Holcombe Rucker, a New York City Parks Department employee, the tournament has grown to become a Harlem institution, an annual summer event of major proportions. On that fabled patch of concrete, unknown players have been lighting it up for decades as they express basketball as a freestyle art among their peers and against such pro immortals as Julius Erving and Wilt Chamberlain. Xs and Os are exchanged for oohs and aahs in one of the great examples of street theater to be found in urban America.Asphalt Gods is a streetwise, supremely entertaining oral history of a tournament that has influenced everything from NBA playing style to hip-hop culture. Now, legends transmitted by word of mouth find a home and the achievements of basketballs greatest unknowns a permanent place in the games record.From the Hardcover edition.
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