Jamal Crawford leaned against the fence at Rucker Park on Wednesday, shaking hands with players and fans and tugging at his oversized T-shirt. A fan walked past him, cautioning him not to play too hard. "Don't forget, Jamal," the man said. "You play for the New York Knicks."
Not in Rucker Park he doesn't. As Crawford and fellow Knick and streetball mate Nate Robinson know, Rucker ball is a different brand of basketball. "This is where you work on your game," Crawford said. "You get better, break out some new stuff."
That's what Crawford and Robinson did while playing for their Seattle team in Rucker's EBC America Classic. After a trying NBA season, both were happy to play Rucker's looser game.
Here, nobody takes issue with their shot selection. And they can't get benched. "Here," said Crawford. "I sub myself out."
Rucker is about hype and highlights, not coaches and boxscores. Crawford and Robinson are fan favorites. Seattle was loaded with stars — unflappable McDonald's All-America Spencer Hawes, Portland Trail Blazers' first-round swingman Brandon Roy and former Washington Huskie point guard Will Conroy — but the local guys garnered the bulk of the attention.
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