New York City lost a legendary figure on Saturday. Someone who not just made major contributions to the world of sports, but to hip-hop culture for over three decades.
Greg Marius, founder and CEO of the Entertainer's Basketball Classic at Rucker Park, passed away on Saturday after a lengthy battle with cancer.
The EBC started in 1982 and showcases the finest in NYC's street basketball. The league's popularity has been so immense that NBA superstars such as LeBron James, Stephon Marbury, Carmelo Anthony, Allen Iverson, Kobe Bryant, and Shaquille O'Neal have laced up their sneakers to come to Harlem's Rucker Park and play in it. Meanwhile, iconic hip-hop factions such as Jay Z and Roc-A-Fella Records, Diddy and Bad Boy Records, The Diplomats, Ruff Ryder Records and Fat Joe and The Terror Squad have sponsored teams.
Joe even makes reference to his team beating Jay Z's team on "Lean Back." When news of Marius' death began to spread on social media and on television (Marius was mentioned during halftime of an NBA playoffs game), figures such as Ed Lover, DJ Clue, DJ Webstar and of course Fat Joe used social media to share messages and stories filled with love and grief over the death of their friend.
Joe wrote on his on his Instagram page about the experience of being one of the last to see Marius in the hospital before he passed away.
On Sunday, EBC Rucker released a statement regarding Marius' passing.
"On behalf of the Marius family we would like to thank everyone for their kind words and prayers," the statement read. "Yesterday, April 22nd, 2017, at around 5:15pm Greg Marius lost his battle to cancer. He fought a tough battle and kept his witty personality through the bitter end. Greg passed peacefully and in the company of his family & friends. To all the kids, high school, college and NBA players that played in the Entertainers Basketball Classic at Rucker Park we thank you. Let us all continue to carry his legacy in Harlem and his love for streetball. Greg will always be affectionately remembered as 'The Commissioner.'"