Commonly regarded as Philadelphia’s Rucker Park, the legendary playground sitting in the heart of Northern Philly’s 16th Street and Susquehanna Avenue will now be the subject of documentary set to premiere tonight at 7pm at the African American Museum. The likes of Wilt Chamberlain, Hank Gathers, Doug Overton, Rodney “Hotrod” Odrick, Aaron “AO” Owens, and Bryant “Sadeye” Watson are among the City of Brotherly Love legends that frequented the park. Below is an excerpt from film’s official announcement:
“16th and Philly” is set to premiere February 6th, 2014 at the African American Museum to be followed by free viewings in neighborhood centers throughout Philadelphia in honor of Black History Month. This documentary depicts the rise and fall of one of the nation’s renowned playground basketball leagues held at 16th Street and Susquehanna Avenue in the heart of North Philadelphia. From the late 1980’s, throughout out the 1990’s and into the to early 2000’s “16th Street” was the paramount and regularly compared to New York City’s “Rucker Park”. Many greats frequented the league including Wilt Chamberlain, Hank Gathers and Doug Overton, but three in particular made themselves legends; Rodney “Hotrod” Odrick, Aaron “AO” Owens, and Bryant “Sadeye” Watson.
Rid with economic despair and devastating conditions, 16th Street playground was a beacon of hope for the North Philadelphia community as well as the city at large. These games brought fans from across the city and tri-state area to witness the level of competition unmatched by any other league. The league at 16th Street shaped Philadelphia basketball history forever. There the legends paved the way and created a lane for the new stars of today.
A portion of the proceeds from the ‘16th and Philly’ documentary will go to a fund dedicated to rebuilding the facilities at the 16th Street basketball courts and the indoor basketball courts at 25th and Diamond in Philadelphia.
“I’m proud that we are able to bring a glimpse of Philadelphia basketball history to Philadelphia and the nation.” says Isaiah Nathaniel “ Excited that we were able to capture, document, and memorialize an institution that so many of us not only in the Philadelphia basketball community, but the basketball community as whole, hold dear to our hearts, The 16th Street Games”
Those interested in learning more about ’16th and Philly’ or receiving updates about the film its viewings should visit www.16thandphilly.com.