Jay-Z and Fat Joe had a championship basketball game set to be played on August 14,2003 at Harlem’s Rucker Park in the Entertainer’s Basketball Classic.
Jay-Z’s team had names like Sebastian Telfair and Jamal Crawford.
It’s also believed that LeBron James, Tracy McGrady, Shaquille O’Neal and others were on call.
Fat Joe’s team is believed to have had Stephon Marbury, Allen Iverson, Yao Ming, Amare Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Webber on their roster.
The game never happened because, the Blackout of 2003 happened.
For those keeping score at home: The Northeast blackout of 2003 was a widespread power outage throughout parts of the Northeastern and Midwestern United States,
The cause of the blackout stemmed from a software bug in the alarm system at the control room of FirstEnergy, an Akron, Ohio–based company.
Meanwhile back in NYC Fat Joe’s team won the game by forfeit.
Fat Joe later gloated about his vistory over Jay-Z on his single, Lean Back when he said: “I don’t wanna speak about the Rucker. Not even Pee Wee Kirkland could imagine this, my nigg*s didn’t have to play to win the championship.”
This week, I spoke with Stephon Marbury about the game that never happened in 2003.
Check out a snippet from our dialogue below:
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: I remember when I was in college and I saw you put the moves on Yao Ming – that crossover that made him sit down…when you look at the impact that Yao Ming had on China, where do you think – I guess, did it inspire you and do you like to see that other guys like, have come into the NBA since Yao Ming and have made an impact…so the question is, how cool is it to number one, see Yao Ming make an impact in the NBA, become a Hall of Famer and being an impact that he’s left in China for people who want to potentially play NBA Basketball one day?
Stephon Marbury: He came and did what he was supposed to do for his nation to have a goal for them and to inspire them towards that goal. He laid the pavement down for people to go down this road to play in the NBA; to reach a higher level because there were other Chinese players that played in the NBA before him. He was the one that really put China on the map. So I think the opportunity is there. Someone has to go and do the work and out themselves in that position.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: I remember ‘The Blackout’. And if I’m not mistaken, you were on Fat Joe’s team and the game got cancelled. LeBron James was supposed to be on Jay-Z’s team…what are recollections about the game at Rucker Park that was never played?
Stephon Marbury: That’s exactly what it is – the game that was never played [laughs] and that’s it. Ain’t nothing more. Ain’t nothing less. It was a bunch of talk that was done. Nobody played though, so it didn’t matter.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Who all was on your team?
Stephon Marbury: I forgot man. It was a long time ago… Kareem Reid, Ron Artest, Jermaine O’Neal…we had a squad. We had a lot of guys.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: I just remember seeing footage on MSG Networks. You see social media talking about it now and it’s just one of those things. It was almost like people wanted to believe that Santa Claus was there and he wasn’t there. That to me like you said was the game that was supposed to happen, but never happened. And it was so many clues through hip-hop songs about – what was it that Fat Joe said, “Not even Pee Wee Kirkland could imagine this, my dudes didn’t have to play to win the championship.”
Stephon Marbury: He was charged up! He was ready! He was super charged! He loves basketball. And this was a time where he had basketball right in the palm of his hand at times where everybody wanted to play in the street.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: If social media existed then…..
Stephon Marbury: Forget about it [laughing] I can’t do ifs.