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AND 1 Mixtape Tour Cincinnati

August 5, 2003 Columns No Comments

On the Riverfront with the AND 1 Mixtape Tour

by Zach Van Hart

Not to toot my town’s own horn, but Cincinnati was all over US Bank Arena Wednesday night when the And1 Mix Tape tour came to the Queen City. The Cincinnati team, lead by Bearcat-to-be James White, ended the And1’s eight-game win streak, squeaking out a thriller 62-61.

Honestly, White was the only real bright spot of the night, as it appeared the entire And1 crew was having an off night. I guess after seeing all of those highlights on ESPN, I was expecting wild dribbling and 360 dunks all night. It didn’t happen that way.

The day started bad enough as the open tryouts for all the local players was forced inside because of rain. Maybe because all the streetballers were forced off the street, it just didn’t go so great. In fact, the best part of the hour-long parade of five-minute pick up games was a seven-year old kid who had some sick handles. He honestly looked like Hot Sauce.

Near the end of the open tryout session is when White, along with teammate Armein Kirkland, showed up. From that point on, my attention and everyone else’s went to the young dunkmaster. The two played a quick game with some of the wannabe ballers, but Kirkland did not play anymore after that.

[Ed. Note: Due to the publicity that James White’s appearance garnered, the University of Cincinnati and the NCAA are working with the AND 1 company to determine if White violated any NCAA amateurism rules with his impromptu appearance. Update (August 22nd): White received a one-game suspension for participating in a non-sanctioned event after it was determined that he did not receive any prizes for his appearance.]

White however was just getting started. And in fact, the biggest uproar from the crowd and both teams came during warm-ups. A few players were trying some crazy dunks, and apparently some trash talking was going on. Finally, someone said something to White, and it was on. White shook his head, walked down to the opposite baseline, raced down the court, took off from the free throw line and slammed one home from fifteen feet away. While the crowd went nuts, half of the And1 team ran around the court and even into the tunnel underneath the stands. It takes a lot to impress a bunch of professional streetballers; White did just that.

The first half went by without much fanfare. In fact, it took almost 15 minutes before I saw anything worth writing down in my notebook, and it wasn’t even that great of a play. Leave it to Mr. White to provide the best play of the half, taking a pass off the backboard and throwing down another sweet dunk with about ten seconds remaining in the half.

Early during the second half, Team Cincinnati went on a 10-0 run and suddenly led by seven, 44-37. Soon after, White struck again. Getting a fast break by himself, White went with the windmill dunk, one of the more underrated dunks out there. This brought the second biggest roar of the night, trailing only his free throw line number.

And1 came back, but never took control. Then with one minute left, the man of the hour nailed a fadeaway jumper from the baseline to give Team Cincy a one-point lead, 62-61. By now White had at least 20 points, who knows what the exact total was. In any case it didn’t matter, because And1 was on the verge on losing its first game of the tour.

After a miss by each team, And1 worked for the last shot. With just a few seconds left, they found Escalade underneath for an apparent open shot. By his attempt was swatted away and Team Cincinnati came away with the win.

But in all honesty, And1 must have known they were in trouble even before the game started. Anytime a member of the pregame rap group wears a Boomer Esiason jersey, it’s assured the home team is going to win. Poor And1 never had a chance.

Well that concludes the game, but first let’s list off some of the highlights with the And1 Mix Tour Cincinnati stop Awards.

Best play – White’s dunk from the free throw line during warm-ups. I’ve seen that dunk on TV and now in person. Trust me, it’s much better in person.

Best name – Escalade. The reason is this guy is a 370-pound mold of a man. Good to see players with a sense of humor.

Best new trend – Wearing a headband around your neck. This one belongs to And1’s Flash. I think I’m going to try it next time I play.

Best chest pass – This is joke, who really cares right?

Best schooling – Toss up between Escalade and Shane the Dribbling Machine. Both players took the ball around their defenders and still controlled it. A dream of mine.

And last, best team goes to…Team Cincinnati. Not to toot my own horn or anything.

The AND 1 Mixtape Tour continues this month on the East Coast. More details can be found on the AND 1 Mixtape Tour Website.


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