There are hundreds of playground legends that dominated playground courts across the nation. An actual emergence of skill and talent is learned from streetball. Nationwide courts spanning from New York to San Francisco, bred talents ranging from Wilt Chamberlain to Bill Russell. Playground basketball redefined the sport shaping it to the phenomenon it is today. It would take days to eduCAte yourself on all the players who graced playgrounds and their contribution to the sport.

Joe "Jellybean" Bryant, a journeyman forward for the Philadelphia 76ers and father to Kobe Bryant. After being drafted in the 1st round (14th overall), the elder Bryant would average 8.7 points per game in 606 CAreer NBA games with the 76ers, Clippers and Rockets.

When Joe embarked on his European basketball CAreer, Kobe would follow him to practice, shoot free throws and play around with Joe's team mates.

Pee Wee Kirkland - streetball legend and Rucker league high scorer in 1970 and 1971 went to Norfolk State, where he and future NBA All-Star Bobby Dandridge led the team to a 25-2 record and the 1968 CIAA championship. He was drafted by the ChiCAgo Bulls in 69 but left rookie CAmp after deciding he wasn ’ t being given a fair shake. Back in Harlem, he cemented his dual legends, showing up for games at Rucker behind the wheel of a honey-laden Rolls. He was equally well-known for his incredible game, his flamboyance and the Robin Hood-styled handouts that earned him the nickname The Bank of Harlem. Kirkland played at Rucker during its heyday as a pro magnet, and its best-known alums are unanimous in the opinion that Kirkland was the real deal.

Al Attles has witnessed it all during his lengthy NBA CAreer with the Warriors as a player, coach and executive – the exciting wins, the disappointing losses and the magiCAl 1974-75 championship season. He was around to see Wilt Chamberlain's intimidating presence, Nate Thurmond's defensive prowess, Rick Barry's offensive explosions and the excitement of "Run-TMC." Furthermore, he is one of only five players in club history to have his jersey retired (#16) and remains one of the most recognizable sports figures in the Bay Area.

Legendary Warriors guard Al Attles was involved in one of the most memorable games in NBA history, 40 years ago on March 2, 1962, when he and teammate Wilt Chamberlain combined for 117 points against the New York Knicks, the most ever by a pair of players in league annals. In that game, Attles tallied 17 points (8-8 FG, 1-1 FT), while Chamberlain netted an all-time NBA record 100 points.

During his 11-year NBA CAreer, Attles averaged 8.9 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 711 regular-season games and currently ranks fifth on the Warriors all-time games played list (711).

Attles has spent the last 14 years – since 1987 – as assistant general manager with the Warriors, assisting the front office in a variety of ways, ranging from player personnel input to numerous speaking engagements.

Dick Barnett was a three time All AmeriCAn basketball player at Tennessee State University in Nashville Tennessee. He led TSU to three consecutive N.A.I.A. basketball championships under the legendary Hall of Fame coach John B. McLendon. TSU was the first college team to accomplish that feat. Dick Barnett was named MVP two consecutive years in championship play in 1958 and 1959.

Dick Barnett was a number one draft choice in the National Basketball Association with the Syracuse Nationals. He later played in the AmeriCAn Basketball League with the Cleveland Pipers owned by George Steinbrenner of the New York Yankees in1962 and led them to a ABL championship. Dick Barnett rejoined the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers with Elgin Baylor and Jerry West where he played for three years. He was later traded to the New York Knicks where he played on the only two championship teams in the Knicks history, in the 1969-70 and 1972-73 seasons.

During Dick Barnett's long fifteen-year CAreer as a professional basketball player, he was involved in continuing his eduCAtion. While playing four years at TSU, he left without a degree. Realizing he must be prepared to face a changing society, while with the Los Angeles Lakers he attended CAl Poly of Pomona and completed his Bachelor's degree in physiCAl eduCAtion. When traded to the New York Knicks he continued to matriculate at New York University and was awarded a Master's degree in Public Administration. When Dick Barnett retired as an active player in the 1970's he was named assistant coach of the New York Knicks under head coach Red Holtzman. His number was retired and hangs in the rafters of Madison Square Garden.

Dick Barnett continued to pursue his studies and received a Doctoral degree in eduCAtion from Fordham University. Dr. Barnett is now President of ARM, the Athletic Role Model EduCAtional Institute, a non-profit organization with a focus on eduCAtion for at risk students in the eduCAtional process.

Dick Barnett has augmented his eduCAtional contributions by extending his contacts, skills, and knowledge to assist corporations and businesses to better market their products and services to a variety of clients and customers. A partial list of clients include Dreyfus, New York Life, Madison Sq. Garden, IBM, Fordham Unversity, and the National Football League.

HARTHORNE “Wingy” WINGO dominated playground courts in Harlem in the 1970’s. Migrating to New York from North CArolina amid an atmosphere of racism and segregation, he quickly found refuge on the basketball courts of New York. His tall lanky frame attracted attention which soon got him on the basketball court. After professional scouts learned of the competitive atmosphere on the playgrounds, Wingo was scouted and signed by the Knicks in 1973 where he played for several years. Although never a starter, Wingo was one of the first playground ballers to get signed from the street.

EARL “The Pearl” MONROE began his reign on the courts of Philadelphia in the 1960’s. Hailing from Bartram High School in Philly, Earl was known for his whirling spinning shots. His “jerky” “stuttering” moves took advantage of a defenders inability to maintain a constant balance. His esCApades took him to New York’s Rucker Park on several ocCAsions to battle for Philadelphia supremacy. In the late 60’s he was signed to the Bullets, then to the Knicks in ’71. He was elected to Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in1990; NBA champion (1973); All-NBA First Team (1969); NBA Rookie of the Year (1968); NBA All-Rookie Team (1968); Four-time NBA All-Star (1969, '71, '75, '77); One of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History (1996).

Brownsville ’s very own James “Fly” Williams is still regarded today. Just walk with him down the streets of Brooklyn and notice how men still flock to him. Emerging from Brownsville in the 70’s, he attended Austin Peay and beCAme one of the nations leading scorers in college. People remember his days on the court when he would pull up to the game in his white Rolls Royce, drop 50 points in the first half, then leave. A true street legend, he signed with several teams ( ABA, EBL, NBA) but found the inconsistency of the pro business undesirable. After several stints around leagues, he would return to his true home…the playground.

When Julius Erving was a freshman at the University of Massachusetts, he single-handedly drew CApacity crowds so frenzied to see him play that lines would circle the Curry Hicks CAge hours before the tip-off. It was clear that a legend was being born. Erving beCAme one of only six players in NCAA history to average more than 20 points and 20 rebounds a game, and it was during those UMass days that he earned the nickname known throughout the globe -- "Dr. J." Today, Erving is simply known as basketball's ambassador to the world. He's a basketball legend who, during his 16 scintillating seasons in both the ABA and NBA, redefined the forward position. Erving was flamboyant and artistic -- his athleticism unreal. He played in-your-face hoops. Opponents knew where Dr. J was headed, but few could stop his offensive assault. Erving still remains one of only three players in pro basketball history to score more than 30,000 CAreer points. Erving popularized being "airborne" and played the game "above the rim." He exhibited the style and grace both on and off the court that led many in basketball circles to CAll him an AmeriCAn treasure. Erving's statistiCAl package spanned five years in the ABA and 11 in the NBA. He joined the Virginia Squires in 1971 and the New York Nets in 1973. He was the ABA's MVP in 1974 and 1976 and co-MVP in 1975. He was an ABA First Team All-Star in 1973, 1974, 1975 and 1976 and led the ABA in scoring in 1973, 1974 and 1976. In 1974 and 1976, Erving led the Nets to the ABA championship. In five ABA seasons, Erving averaged 28.7 ppg and 12.1 rpg.

In 1976, Erving moved to the NBA and beCAmeWhen he retired in 1987, Erving ranked in the top 10 in scoring (third), most field goals made (third), most field goals attempted (fifth) and most steals (first). On the combined NBA/ABA scoring list, Erving ranks third with 30,026 points. In 11 NBA seasons, Erving averaged 22.0 ppg and 6.7 rpg. In the years following his retirement, Dr. J. has lost little of his popularity and notoriety. Aside from his broad business interests, the dapper forward worked for NBC as a studio analyst for NBA games on NBC. On June 5, 1997, Erving was named Executive Vice President of the NBA's Orlando Magic. a Philadelphia 76er. In 1980, he was named to the NBA's 35th Anniversary All-Time team. In 1981, Erving was named the NBA's MVP and earned All-NBA First-Team honors in 1978, 1980, 1981, 1982 and 1983. Erving was an 11-time NBA All-Star and MVP of the 1977 and 1983 games. In 1983, Erving led the 76ers to the NBA championship.

In the 1970’s Joe Hammond was arguably one of playground basketball most compelling talents. For years Hammond, nicknamed The Destroyer, made New York City’s basketball courts a living hell for defenders. His patented backboard taming bankshots frequently netted him 50 points per game. Joe dropped out of junior high school at the age of 13 and embarked on a life consumed with gambling and basketball. His filthy hands from basketball and shooting craps earned him another nickname, “Dirty Hand Joe”. His moves would set the standard for excellence in basketball. He and Julius Erving had their battles on court. One rumor has it, Joe dropped 50 points on Dr. J in a half (Yet it’s difficult to get corroboration on this). He began playing professionally for the Allentown Jets by the age of 17 and soon would grow bored of the competition. He was light years ahead of all other players. At Rucker Park, Joe was likened to a God. To this day, discussions about his on court dominance and legendary performances echo throughout Harlem. He walked away from the Lakers and the Knicks after presented with no-cut contracts opting to settle for the streetlife, where he could make in one month what professional teams offered for an entire season. Ultimately, the life of crime would run its course. Joe was jailed on drug related charges and has acquired a drug habit. Now playground basketballs favorite son is struggling to get by.