Rock The Bells is an annual Hip-Hop Festival that tours the entire country. The best show is always in New York because, as we all know, Hip-Hop was invented in (my hometown of) the Boogie Down Bronx. Therefore, the best rappers of all time come from New York City and it's no surprise that NY always has the best show. Besides the obvious ones like Notorious BIG and Jay-Z, there were also rap pioneers like Rakim and KRS-One. All from NYC...but if you ask me who is the best Hip-Hop MC of all time I'd have to say Queensbridge's own Escobar Ceasar Nasty Nastradamus (better known as just NaS). I specifically didn't refer to him as a rapper because he is so much more. Nas is to Hip-Hop what Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong are to Jazz and what Mutabaruka and Bob Marley are to Reggae. And speaking of Bob Marley, the Rock the Bells tour was also a preview for the "Distant Relatives" album that is coming out in the near future. It's a collaboration between NaS and Bob Marley's youngest son Damien.Being a big fan of both NaS and Damien Marley I really wanted to get tickets to the Rock The Bells concert at Jones Beach but unfortunately it was sold out in two days. But no need to worry, I was going to find a way to get there, even if it meant standing out on the beach all day and scalping tickets. But that would end up not being necessary. Why, you ask?
Well, there is a guy who organizes a lot of highly-competitive New York City basketball workouts. His name is Milton Lee and he's worked with NBA players, college players, and overseas players alike. When Ben Jacobson and I played on that ESPN NIT college all star team back in 2005, he was the one responsible for getting us in shape. His resume is unmatched and on top of all of that, he is a really good guy. Since people know him, and the high level of basketball players that he deals with, he is often contacted whenever someone needs basketball services. I get emails from him all the time asking if I can give a basketball lesson, work a basketball camp, or be an extra in a basketball movie.
Usually I don't respond because my schedule is always up in the air, but being an extra in a basketball movie definitely caught my attention. Ever since my German Premiere Debut commercial I've always wanted to see what doors would open for me in the entertainment business. Turns out the movie is called "Just Wright" and it stars Common (the Chicago-born rapper turned actor) Queen Latifah (the NJ born rapper turned actress) and me (the NY born basketball player turned actor). Actually it doesn't star me, I don't even know how many scenes I'm going to have in the movie. All I know as of right now is that Common is a professional basketball player (like Charles Lee) who gets hurt (like Charles Lee) and Queen Latifah is the physical therapist (like Peca) who works at the rehab center (like Rainer Junge) and gets him back on his feet (like Peca did). So it's just like the Charles Lee story, although I want to say there is a kissing scene in the movie (and to my knowledge, there were never any kisses between Peca and Charles).
So this production company was looking for New York City basketball players to be extras in the NBA basketball scenes but didn't want to pay 300 people to come "tryout" for the part, so over a 3 day training session, where we did every basketball drill from 3-man weave to 3-point shooting, they weeded out enough players to be left with 4 full teams and one practice team. All of the guys who made the final cut (yours truly) got tickets to see Common perform at the Rock the Bells concert...and we sat up front. Unfortunately, when Paderborn beat us in the last regular season game, someone ran down from the stands and stepped on Holly's pocketbook, crushing my camera, and I haven't been able to purchase another one yet, but the concert was amazing, there were a lot of special guests (Ice-T and The LOX) and a lot of drama (Slaughterhouse/Wu-Tang beef) resolved. The best part of the concert was Damian Marley's jacket...you guys gotta let me know if you recognize that flag?
Quick Sidenote: I just bought the Slaughterhouse CD and it was the best CD I've heard since the last Nas album...
I'm pretty sure my next Nike Pro City game is against Ron Artest and Queensbridge (NaS doesn't play but he definitely supports them) and we are looking to keep our winning streak alive. Although we had both Ryan Gomes (Minnesota Timberwolves) and Marko Jaric (Memphis Grizzlies) on our roster for our last game was a hard fought battle against a bunch of local talent from Brooklyn. We all know how it goes when a scrappy hard working team (Gottingen) matches up against a much more popular bigger name team (most of the other BBL teams)...the scrappier team gives it all the have. It was nice to be on the other side for once, especially since we won, but I'm definitely looking forward to getting back out there with my "rat-pack" and give these other BBL teams 40 minutes of hell.