07/09/2012 07:58 am ET

Holcombe Rucker's Lessons Were Given Through Basketball

Over lunch at her home in the Bronx recently, Mary Rucker-Thomas spoke about the pride she felt for the enduring legacy of her husband, Holcombe Rucker.

Many are familiar with Rucker, whose name became synonymous with the best of playground basketball before his death too young at 39, of cancer. They are probably not familiar with his widow, Rucker-Thomas, who at 81 is the keeper of the family flame even as the basketball tournament her husband founded no longer bears his name.

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