It was the summer of 2003, I had turned 20 that year and I was living in Brownsville,TX. The San Antonio Spurs had just finished winning their 2nd championship against the New Jersey Nets, David Robinson announced his retirement. A highschool kid by the name of Lebron James was drafted to the Cavaliers that same year.
I found myself playing pickup basketball throughout that summer at Morningside Park, one of the only parks in Brownsville at the time that people hooped regularly every day. I remember one time after a late night hooping session turning on the television and watching ESPN2 and a show called the And1 Mix tape Tour had made its debut. I had never heard of the and1 tour prior to this, all those creative dribbles, fancy passing, alley oops immediately caught my eye and I was instantly hooked. And1 is an apparel company that focuses mostly on basketball gear, at the time it was synonymous with streetball and sponsored high profile streetball players from around the country and went to different cities in a tour bus in what was called “The Mix Tape Tour”. Streetball legends like John “High Octane” Harvey, Phillip “Hot Sauce” Champion, Troy “Escalade” Jackson… and many other prolific players plyed their trade in the show. One of the features on the and1 tour was that on every stop there would be one contestant selected at the end of the game to join their tour for the next stop, whoever survived each stop kept playing with the and1 team, whoever managed to stay till the very end, won an official and1 contract.
One of those contestants was an 18year old teenage skinny white kid from Oregon, Greyson Boucher who later was given the nickname “The Professor” by Duke Tango, the famous and1 MC who always said “OH BABY!” in the games after someone would get crossed or dunked on. The professor joined the tour in the very beginning after the 2nd stop in Portland where he was spotted and managed to stay till the very end and hit a clutch winning 3 point shot for the opposing team to beat the and1 team and they had no choice but to award him the contract. What I liked about the professor is that he played regular basketball and didn’t need to perform any of those illegal moves with the ball that and1 got famous for. Every time I would watch an episode of and1, I would go the next day to the park and try to perform a few moves, many of them worked down to perfection that people there would be like, damn what move was that? where did he learn it from? Afterwards it started getting apparent as I kept performing more moves, one guy finally catched on and said “hey that’s the stuff from and1, that is where you learned it from.”
As time passed on, I tried to keep up with and1 and their summer tours, I tried to make it one time to an open run in Houston but living at Brownsville at the time made it difficult to do so. With more players being added to the team each year and the illegal moves that you can’t use in everyday basketball my interested faded. And1 lasted for a couple of extra years but eventually it came to an end due to mismanagement. Many of the players from and1 later joined a company called Balled Up and has been semi successful, their website hasn’t been updated since last year. A company called Court Kingz who has partnered with DADA footwear seems to have taken the reign of the streetball movement. Current players on that team include Hot Sauce and recently Sir Issac out of Houston, TX has been touring with them.
And1 still exists today, but the grandeur that it once had is no longer. And1 definitely made a significant impact in basketball culture throughout the late 90’s and early 2000’s and if it wasn’t for them, I feel there wouldn’t be a main streetball scene. I hope that I’m able to steer Houston Streetball into the right path and that it becomes part of everyone that plays basketball. It’s not centered on just a group of specific players but if not everyone that plays basketball in and around the city. What do you remember about and1?
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