By Jared Zwerling
It was 8:15 on Wednesday night, the scheduled tip-off time, when Dyckman League announcer Joe Pope got on the mic to address the capacity crowd of about 3,000 at Monsignor Kett Playground in Washington Heights on 204th St. and Nagle Ave.
“Let’s go! We need you to please clear the court so the game can begin! Let’s go!”
At that time, there were dozens of VIP guests and media members chatting it up with celebrity row, which included former New York Knicks player Al Harrington, Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson, former New York high school prodigy Felipe Lopez and rapper Jadakiss.
But most of the swarm hovered around the 17 players on the court. But these weren’t just any 17 ballers — these were 17 of the best former high school and college standouts, including streetball legends, to ever come out of New York City. And it was only a Dyckman regular-season matchup.
It wasn’t until roughly 9:30 p.m. that what was billed as “the game of the decade” actually got underway, featuring Team Nike and Ooh-Way.
“Usually we’ll have more control, but because of the magnitude of the game and the people there, we didn’t have enough manpower to control it,” Dyckman League president Kenneth Stevens said. “But the game went on.”
For the past seven years, Nike has been the main sponsor of Dyckman and has helped develop the summer basketball tournament into the biggest one in the city. Many streetball aficionados in attendance agreed that Dyckman has surpassed the long-running Entertainer’s Basketball Classic at Rucker Park in popularity. “It’s the quality of ballplayers,” one said.
S/O to Blow Hip-Hop TV for the video.
S/O to Team Nike for the videos as well.