When I first got to Rucker on Monday night the park wasn’t quite as packed as it has traditionally been on past opening nights. But by the time the opening night of the 2010 EBC at Rucker Park was finished, the crowd was tremendous and we were all treated to a display of insane athleticism.
In the final five minutes of the second game, Anthony “Africa” Pimble threw down not one, not two, but three insane dunks, the third of which we posted yesterday on DimeMag.com and YouTube – the dunk deserves no less than a million hits. Africa was so determined to impress that he was soon dubbed “Disrespectful” because “Africa” did not do him enough justice. When he jumped high enough to dunk a ball clean through the net and with tremendous force, the emcee warned the audience that “Disrespectful” would “dunk on your entire family” if they found themselves under the basket.
Although “Africa”/“Disrespectful” certainly set the tone for the rest of the summer, Rucker veteran Larry “Bone Collector” Williams returned to leave anyone attempting to guard him in his wake. The billing called for a “Bone Collector”/Rafer “Skip 2 My Lou” Alston showdown, but when Rafer didn’t show, Adris “2 Hard 2 Guard” DeLeon took his place in the featured matchup. While 2 Hard wasn’t as flashy in the one-on-one series’ against Bone, he put on a shooting show and displayed his ability to get to the hole at will and finish.
When both the crowd and second game were at their peaks, Dallas Mavericks guard Jose Juan Barea strolled in with an entourage about five deep to take in the action. About 10 minutes later, though, he bounced, and I wonder if it’s because he knew he could dominate the competition or if he was intimidated.
If it was intimidation, one possible explanation is because Rodrigue Beaubois is going to be taking away a lot of his minutes next year. In a conference call with reporters on Monday, Jason Kidd said: “I would hope that’s what we’re shooting for, to develop Roddy this summer and to play him more next season. I wouldn’t be opposed to coming off the bench some next season.” Pretty good coming from one of the best point guards in NBA history. Beaubois showed flashes of brilliance last year but this guy must be the real deal. When I caught up with Tony Parker last night at the Gillette Fusion ProGlide “Ultimate Summer Job” event, Parker told me that Beaubois is the up-and-coming guy to watch from France in the World Basketball Festival, World Championships and beyond. Even bringing up Beaubois got Parker looking forward to France’s chances in the 2012 Olympics.
Back to Rucker. The first game between TNP and the X-Men was sloppy, but as you’ll see in the video, TNP’s S-Class was still rolling like an S600 (okay, maybe more like an S500). S-Class tied the game with 30 seconds left in the 4th, but the effort wasn’t enough as the X-Men pulled away for the victory thanks to some hot shooting in the second half.
Rucker promises to be more exciting than ever this summer with Nike fixing up the actual courts and providing a row of leather chairs that serve as the “bench” for each team. Even the emcee quipped that he wouldn’t want to go in the game because he would just want to chill on the nice “bench.” Make sure to check out the EBC this summer and the World Basketball Festival events that will be going on at Rucker. You know that Dime will be there.
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