NYC Resources311Office of the Mayor

Official Website of the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation

Holcombe Rucker Park

W. 155 St., 8 Ave. To Harlem River Drive


Directions via Google Maps

This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park.

Holcombe Rucker (1926-1965) dedicated his life to his community. Although he died young, his memory endures because of the major basketball tournament he founded. Rucker grew up in Manhattan, attended Benjamin Franklin High School, and between 1948 and 1964 worked for Parks as a playground director in numerous Harlem locales.

In 1947, the year that Rucker married Mary Thomas, he started a basketball tournament in Harlem. The Rucker League’s motto was “each one, teach one,” and it stressed education in combination with recreation. Rucker personally taught participants reading fundamentals, graded their homework, and let success on report cards influence who would play. Throughout the course of the tournaments, Rucker helped to obtain over 700 college athletic scholarships for the participants. Rucker continued his own education with a degree from the City College of New York in 1962, and then taught English classes at J.H.S. 139.

Read More

Directions to Holcombe Rucker Park

Was this information helpful?