It’s no secret that A$AP Ferg loves Harlem, New York, the place where he was born and raised. Fans can see him hanging out around his old neighborhood and giving back to those in need, and just this last weekend the rapper was a part of a meaningful project in one of Harlem’s most famous places.
On Saturday (October 9), A$AP Ferg teamed up with the NBA Players Association (NBPA) and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation to officially reopen the Greg Marius Court at Holcombe Rucker Park in Harlem. The special ribbon-cutting ceremony was open to guests with celebrities such as Fat Joe and NBA legend Julius “Dr. J” Erving in attendance.
A$AP Ferg was tapped to redesign the court, which has been graced by countless basketball legends — NBA stars and streetball icons alike — since the 19050s, alongside creative director Set Free Richardson. The renovation included a new scoreboard, backboards, rims and bleachers installations. According to Ferg, the inspiration for his design came from Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown.
“What really inspired this court design, because I had so many designs, I spoke to my friend Jaylen Brown, he plays for the Boston Celtics,” Ferg told the guests at the legendary Rucker Park. “We was on the phone for hours because I just really was diving for inspiration… He was telling me the history on basketball and he told me about the Mayans.”
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He continued, “They had this court game where they had a stone wall and the hoop was on the side and they played with a stone ball and they would like, play to death. Basketball was the evolution of that. Doing the research of the essence of this, I stumbled upon a word, Xibalba, which means a place of fright.
“The hunger and the tenacity of the children that came from the Harlem streets gave us a different type of DNA growing up. Xibalba was a mythological word that the Mayans came up with that meant when you step into this game, you either die or you turn into a God and that’s what this court represents.”
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Fat Joe weighed in on the grand reopening of the court he used to dominate with his Terror Squad team at the iconic Entertainer’s Basketball Classic tournament in the early 2000s.
“I’ll start off by saying that in my will it’s written that my hearse must drive past The Rucker,” Joey crack said. “Many years, I would have these number one songs at the time. If you know about music, when an artist got a number one song that’s when they go and get their money. But everybody knew, every summer, I would not go get money. I would not perform. I would be coaching the kids here at the Rucker.”
Last year, A$AP Ferg was part of a select group of rappers chosen to design special limited edition jerseys for Bleacher Report and Mitchell & Ness’ NBA Remix Collection. Ferg had the task of designing a jersey — along with t-shirts, hoodies, hats and shorts — for his hometown team, the New York Knicks.
"The Knicks, my city, New York City." @ASAPferg on what it's like to design a Knicks jersey with Bleacher Report and Mitchell & Ness. NBA Remix available now https://t.co/AwsZhDvl7k pic.twitter.com/u6vEbnDxLy
— B/R Kicks (@brkicks) November 18, 2020