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2006: SLAM Magazine – The Backboard

June 23, 2008

slam_25.JPGAugust 2006 — We knew that once we got to school, since we were gonna
make this splash bein’ the Fab Five, we wanted to look and feel a
certain way. Obviously, part of that was to have bigger shorts. Any
trend that we brought to the game was embraced, whether you’re talking
about us rockin’ the Huaraches, or the Charles Barkleys at the time,
and the black socks. We was comin’ from situations where we couldn’t
pick our own sneakers, and now we was havin’ multiple flavors to choose
from.

Also the thing that was embraced, I think, was hip-hop. Whether it’s me
doing press conferences in a Naughty By Nature hoodie, or an EPMD hat,
that was something they had never paid attention to or understood. At
that time, you didn?t see the best players in the League in videos. It
was somethin’ when I turned on a video and seen 2 Live Crew with a
Michigan hat, or I’m watchin’ a Tupac movie and I see Money B with a
Michigan No. 5 jersey. And as much as we were loved, we were hated,
too. Coach Fisher used to show us the hate letters and the racist
comments. Now people look back and act like it was all fine and dandy
and fun, but we was rebels to everybody because of how we looked. We
were thugs. We were killers.

We were so wrapped up into it that we didn’t really pay attention to
the influence. What we brought to the game was a lifestyle, which means
it’s gonna last forever. It wasn’t a fad. Mike Tyson went into the
ring, he has on black boots and no socks. That was around our era. We
was lovin’ that.

One of my favorite moments during that time: I was in Oakland for the
KMEL Summer Jam, and they had everybody staying at the Hilton, and I’m
sittin’ in a freestyle session. There’s Treach, there’s Redman, there’s
Latifah, Tupac. Everybody just sittin’ up in there rappin’. That was a
timeless moment for me. It was the camaraderie of the game.

I think SLAM’s done a fabulous job, with not only the sport but the
lifestyle, the hip-hop element, and bringing it all together and making
it sound not only reasonable, but making it tangible. If it was around
when we were in school? Absolutely we would have gotten covers. I
already know that would’ve went down. That would have a nice movement.

Now there’s guys that I got respect and love for, and then I meet em’
for the first time and they tell me a Fab Five story. Like Jermaine
O’Neal tellin’ me he wore No. 5 in high school because of me, or to see
Kevin Garnett talk about how much he loved us. Guys like Allen Iverson.
That means a lot to me. It’s great to be in the situation where I’m not
so old to be removed from what’s going on, yet old enough to where guys
who are doin’ their thing now and are superstars in their own right
remember and appreciate what we brought to the table.