Last Thursday, July 1st, marked a moment in history for the Entertainers Basketball Classic (EBC) at the historic Rucker Park, as the organization unveiled a larger-than-life LeBron James mural painted in the famed park in an effort to convince the most coveted NBA player to join the Knicks. The massive “Harlem Loves U LeBron” 50-foot mural was a major component in the movement of convincing James to sign to the New York Knicks. The EBC and the mural received a significant amount of media attention by outlets including the New York Times, Associated Press and the Wall Street Journal. It was ready in less than three days and was unveiled the same day LeBron James became a free agent.
The EBC proceeded with the painting not as a corporate strong-arm gesture, but to show Harlem’s community support and love for the basketball star. “We felt that corporate America was going hard at LeBron, and we wanted him to know that everyday people, ticket buyers, were interested in him coming to New York,” EBC Founder, Greg Marius, told the Wall Street Journal.
On Tuesday, July 6, the mural was unfortunately painted over by the Parks Department. The Wall Street Journal quoted the covering as “a bad omen ahead of Thursday night’s announcement.” A suspicion that proved true last night when LeBron James announced his decision on ESPN to sign with the Miami Heat. (Images of the former mural are attached. Photo credit: Rodney Williams).
The Entertainer’s Basketball Classic (EBC) was founded by Greg Marius in 1980 in Harlem, NY and is one of the most recognizable summer streetball tournaments in the world. The EBC serves as an opportunity for amateur athletes to display their raw talent on the court – and claim the respect of their peers. The tournament features a Men’s and Women’s division, as well as AAU Youth divisions. The Men’s division is one of only a few tournaments in New York to be sanctioned by the NBA and the NCAA. The EBC has played host to a lineup of A-list celebrities, athletes and politicians, including former President Bill Clinton, NBA Commissioner David Stern, Denzel Washington, Beyonce, LeBron James, David Duchovny, Michael Rappaport and music superstars who have been EBC team owners or celebrity coaches such as Jay-Z, Mary J.Blige, Alicia Keys, Diddy, Fat Joe, and Jermaine Dupri, among others. Throughout the years the tournament has attracted fans from all over the world and included over 30 NBA professionals who have played in the EBC tournament such as: Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Kevin Garnett, Stephon Marbury, Baron Davis, Vince Carter, Kenyon Martin, Ron Artest, and more. The EBC remains the most respected, streetball tournament because of its dedication to Tri-State area youth. It provides them with community support and an outlet to stay off the streets.