Even 10 Years Later, Kevin Durant’s 66-Point Performance at Rucker Park is Still Legendary
It’s been a decade since a lanky, 22-year-old Kevin Durant stepped into Harlem’s Rucker Park and put on one of the greatest individual performances the basketball world has ever seen on a blacktop.
The August night sky was a murky black, with hints of hues from the surrounding skyscrapers gleaming into view as KD stepped in between the freshly painted white lines. Dawning a vibrant orange DC Power uniform, KD stood under the bright fluorescent lights while hundreds of fans inched closer and closer to the court to see him. It got to the point where a human perimeter was created as the baseline and sideline out of bounds, a sign of a truly engaged and emphatic crowd.
Amidst a still looming NBA lockout, the reigning League scoring champion erupted for 66 points in a 99-93 win against the Sean Bell All-Stars at the Entertainers Basketball Classic.
KD told GQ in 2017 that he ended up at Rucker Park after getting a text from Randy “White Chocolate” Gill that said, They bumpin’ at the Rucker, Slim. You Want to Play? Wasting no time, he hopped on a flight from Oklahoma to New York to suit up for the DC Power. There, KD noticed immediately that the vibes were different on 155th St. and Frederick Douglass Blvd. in Harlem.
“I put my shorts and jersey on and my shoes and I look up and it’s packed all the way over the gate. They’re playing loud music, people in the high-rises across the street are turning their lights on and opening their windows. It was like something out of a movie.”
While soaking in the sights and sounds of one of the most legendary courts in the country, word is Durant even asked for someone to run to a local soul-food joint and grab him a plate of fried chicken, collard greens and mac and cheese.
He then went out and started the game off strong, dropping 23 points in the first half and another 15 points in the third. The future Hall-of-Famer completely took the park over in the fourth quarter, dropping 28 points and scoring five straight three-pointers over double teams like it was nothing.
Former Seton Hall guard Jeremy Hazell described the moment, in real-time, to the New York Post: “We were trying to get the ball out of his hands quick because we know he is a great shooter. He was shooting right over us and knocking down a lot of shots. That’s just Kevin Durant.”
The energy in the park erupted after each perfectly made shot, and by the time KD sank his fifth three-pointer, the park’s audience went crazy and bombarded him at half court. His performance even earned him the nickname, “I Am The Best.”
After the game, Durant tweeted: “No lie, jus had one of the best times of my life at Rucker park..wow! I love NY…Harlem waddup…”
And yet, it’s these words from White Chocolate that summed up the legendary night perfectly.
“Some nights are very special. This is going down as one of those special nights.”