The stars were everywhere. The Hoops Gym in Chicago hosts an invitation-only run featuring wall-to wall NBA talent—on the court, on the bench, even in the stands. And you can go down the list of names, but there’s only one Michael Jordan, and there’s only one chance to impress His Airness. So when that opportunity comes, you gotta Go Get It.
Tony Jones was well known in his hometown of Chicago for his standout career at Div. I Chicago State. But when he walked into the Hoops Gym, he was nobody. Names like Maggette, Marion, Q-Rich, Michael Finley and others were there, but it was Jones’ play that stood out to Jordan, who asked him to play on his team.
No surprise that Jones turned a six-game deal with the AND1 Mix Tape Tour into a permanent gig. Of course, no one calls you Go Get It without ridiculous hops—check this out if you don’t believe us—but what makes Jones special is the rest of his game matched anything he did at ten feet in the air…and higher.
John Harvey grew up in the Bronx, with a view of the Rucker from across the river, and the hops to just about jump there if he wanted to. Harvey, who starred as a collegian for the LIU Post Pioneers, was just a few months out of school when the AND1 Mix Tape Tour hit Manhattan’s Upper West Side. High Octane showed up, showed out, and by summer’s end had made himself a fixture with the Tour. Check his power on AND1 Mix Tapes 5, 6 and 7 – Octane regularly gets his head even with the rim …and he’s as in awe of his vertical as everyone else.
“When we’re playing against each other, it’s something out of a comic book,” he says. “It’s like Superman meets Batman, and you’re fighting for that pride.” Maybe it’s no coincidence that Harvey has a name like a superhero’s mild-mannered alter ego and when he comes out as High Octane, the other superheroes best move out the way.
Brooklyn, Queens, Harlem, DC, ATL, Chi-Town…
If you weren’t sure just how far streetball culture has reached, the proof is in the Professor. Born and raised in Salem, Grayson Boucher came up farther from the Rucker than any other player featured on an AND1 Mix Tape (yeah, we looked it up), and never has there been a less likely streetballing success. As a 5’8”, 105-pound high schooler with what a local paper called “blinding ball-handling skills” but a still-suspect jumper, Boucher didn’t get a minute of varsity burn until his junior year. Not exactly the pedigree of a streetball legend, but his Chemeketa Community College coach, David Abderhalden, foreshadowed what was to come for the yet-to-be-nicknamed Professor: “What he lacks in size he makes up for with intelligence.”
Gray’s game always had a little flair, and when a friend showed him the AND1 Mix Tape Vol. 2, he knew he’d found his calling. Professor never stopped studying those Mix Tapes, and in June of ’03 he took some bona fide ballers to school. With the AND1 Mix Tape Tour in Portland at the Memorial Coliseum, Gray brought his jaw-dropping arsenal first to the blacktop, then in the arena against the AND1 team, and finally, after draining a buzzer-beater to defeat the Mix Tape Team at Madison Square Garden in August, as the first local player to win a permanent spot on the Tour.
Lonnie Harrell (aka Prime Objective) offered Professor perhaps the highest praise a fellow streetballer can give: “He was doing stuff we’d never seen before.” Like showing that anyone – and we do mean anyone – can ball.
It’s Thursday, so once again we’re taking a look back at some of the ballers that put AND1 streetball on the map.
Shane “The Dribbling Machine” Woney is another NYC product that made waves at the local hotspots like the Rucker and Dyckman. Shane realized early on the value of setting up his teammates and made a living off throwing alley-oops to his buddy Waliyy “Main Event” Dixon as the two traveled across the country playing for the Harlem Rockets. Sky-scraping dunks and killer crossovers usually get all the attention, but there is a true artistry in throwing a great pass and collecting dimes.
When Main Event came to Shane with the opportunity to play in a streetball game that would be filmed by AND1, the Dribbling Machine jumped on the opportunity. Shane was on point with his passes and the many years of playing streetball with Main Event became evident in the chemistry between the two. They hooked up for devastating alley-oop after oop, setting the stage for things to come.
The energy and creativity that Shane and Main Event brought to the court helped propel AND1 basketball and form the foundation of the Mix Tape Tour. Shane and Waliyy were two of the original six members of the team and will forever be AND1 legends.