Most know, but for those of you who don’t: SLAM was founded in 1994 as a publication that intertwines the game and hip-hop culture. As a ‘94 baby myself, I was raised on SLAM. I’m from the era of hoop that coined the phrase, “ball is life” and I was that kid coming home from school, turning on the computer and getting in a rabbit hole on YouTube looking up highlights and mixtapes. Not just basketball mixtapes though, but hip-hop mixtapes, too—I’m a DatPiff and Blog Era baby. If I wasn’t outside hoopin’ or in somebody’s gym, I was consuming basketball some other type of way and probably listening to rap at the same time.
Hoops and rap became the lenses in which I see the world through. And of course, those lenses are filtered with my Blackness, something I take pride in and never shy away from.
Hoops, Rap and Everything Black is a weekly column that zeroes in on the two fundamental components of SLAM—hoops and rap—while threading in other aspects of the vibrant tapestry of Black culture. You, readers, can expect dynamic storytelling, features, interviews, personal essays, photos, mood boards and videos. I’ve also put together a 22-playlist (inspired by the No. 22, which I wore for most of my hoop career) called Hoops, Rap and Everything Black playlist that will go along with each column.
Just for fun, here’s the mood board I created when conceptualizing what I want Hoops Rap and Everything Black to reflect; this should give you a glimpse of what to expect.
A little bit more about me: Modestly, I developed to be a pretty decent hooper and played DI ball at Longwood University in Virginia. I still hoop every chance I get, and God willing I’ll hoop for the rest of my life. I grew up in the DMV, and over the course of my career played for notable programs like Hoop Booth and Under Armour’s DC Assault (now DC Premier), and schools like Fredericksburg Christian School and Middleburg Academy. I played with and against pros and high-level hoopers at every turn. I got my Master’s in Sports Industry Management from Georgetown University and am currently wrapping up my second Master’s in Journalism at NYU.
Now that we got all that out of the way, let’s get to it. I appreciate you for being here, and hope you join me every week on this journey. You can read the first column here.