“Eye of the Tiger.”
That’s what they call Fordham’s Bevon Robin at Rucker Park, and the sweet-shooting guard with the mighty springs in his legs lived up to that billing in the championship game of the Entertainers Basketball Classic on Thursday evening. The Tiger took his place among Rucker immortals with a sizzling 32-point performance to lead Dunk.Net Posse to a 75-60 victory over a Vacant Lot squad led by Charles Jones and his brother Lamont.
“This is a great feeling, especially the way things have gone for me at Fordham the past three years,” said Robin, who was named the championship game’s Most Valuable Player. “I’ve never had a winning season at Fordham, but winning a Rucker championship helps to ease some of that pain.” Eye of the Tiger—teaming with “High Five,” a/k/a Reggie Freeman, the former University of Texas star now playing professionally in Turkey, and “Leave Him Alone Jerome,” a/k/a Jerome Allen, the former Penn star who played with the Minnesota Timberwolves—rose to the challenge of his backcourt rivals before several thousand rowdy fans as the Joneses could not keep up with the Posse’s quick transition game and overall athleticism.
“That was a real good team out there,” said Charles Jones, the former LIU star who recently ran with the Chicago Bulls and L.A. Clippers. “But those refs, man, it felt like we were playing five against eight the whole game.”
High Five, who finished with 13, and Leave Him Alone Jerome, who added 11, helped lead the Posse to their second straight EBC title, a feat last accomplished by the Pyramid All-Stars back in the summer of ’86, when the late, great “Pookie” Wilson, Ronnie “the Terminator” Matthias, and “Choo Choo” Yates (now the EBC statistician) were still taking bows on the mythical stretch of blacktop across the street from the site of the old Polo Grounds.
Picking up the scent of eight-foot-high championship trophies just outside the chain-link fence—they were in a moving truck guarded by two guys wearing “Fuck Giuliani” T-shirts—Eye of the Tiger began stalking his prey in the Harlem night.
After a three-pointer from the parking lot gave the Posse an early 5-0 lead, the Tiger exploded. With 11:30 to play in the first half, the 6-2 guard soared from the foul line through heavy traffic and attempted a monstrous two-handed jam that would have gone down had “Whole Lotta Game,” a/k/a Adrian Walton, not pushed him from behind. With the crowd on its feet and apartment lights from the projects across the street flicking on like a huge brick switchboard, the Tiger kept roaring. Taking a pass from a tall, lean teammate named “African Slinky” late in the first half, the Tiger buried his fourth three-pointer to give the Posse a 27-20 lead.
With 10:45 left in the second stanza, the Tiger took a pass from a Latino teammate named “Carlito’s Way” on the right baseline, cradled the rock as he went north and over the outstretched fingertips of two defenders, and sent home a thunderous windmill jam that gave the Posse a 47-35 lead and brought the Rucker faithful onto the court in celebration.
“I’ve worked hard all summer long on my game and it really paid off,” said the Tiger. “So many great players have come through this park over the years and made their mark. Tonight, it was my turn.”