RFFW Podcast ,Who got next? : An episode on the rise and fall of the And 1 brand

Check out my latest episode of Real Free Flowing Words podcast below. Click the link to listen and hit the follow button so you stay up to date with my future posts.

https://anchor.fm/therhymerula/embed/episodes/Who-got-next—An-episode-on-the-rise-and-fall-of-the-And-1-brand-e1orp0b

Who got next? Untold: The Rise and Fall of And 1 (Summary and review)

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Welcome readers,

If you’re a hooper (a great basketball player) then you’re familiar with And 1 streetball and its significant impact on street basketball and even the NBA to a certain extent i.e “Skip to my Lou” (Rafer Alston). The And 1 brand compared to its major competitor Nike didn’t have the manpower when it started, but the founders had a shared mission to introduce streetball to the mainstream and it became a prominent basketball brand that was on the level of Nike. In this blog post, I will summarize and review the latest documentary I watched Untold: The Rise and Fall of And 1. 

The And 1 brand began in August 1993 by three college students Seth Berger, Jay Coen Gilbert, and Tom Austin. These three basketball enthusiasts wanted to create a brand that exemplified their love for the game but catered to the streets. Furthermore, the brand wanted to have a demeanor that reflected the toughness of streetball. Before And 1 came out with sneakers, they tested the market and designed T-shirts that resonated with streetballers. Arrogant disses on t-shirts like, “Go to church. Pray you don’t guard me”, and “What’s wrong? “Momma forgot to pack your game”? This captivated consumers and the brand built momentum. Moreover, And 1 was cultivated with a grassroots movement mindset where the mission was to remain loyal to the streets and thus street ball became synonymous with AND 1. In addition, it was a way of life for a lot in the hood. And 1 reached its pinnacle when it started its And 1 Mixtape Tour which consisted of games being played nationwide and globally. Additionally, players would make media appearances to increase exposure for the brand. The testimonials from And 1 players were intriguing to learn about, such as winning was secondary because the performance was everything. From that standpoint, I perceived that sentiment to be comparable to the ostentatious Harlem Globetrotters or the extreme airborne version of basketball, Slamball. The latter was an exaggerated version of basketball that appealed to a casual fan that didn’t know much of the fundamentals, but And 1 streetball was an on-the-ground game that incorporated the culture of Hip Hop and gravitated to the streets. In regard to this, Rucker Park is considered to be the Madison Square Garden to Streetballers and the crowd there and many venues during there And 1 mixtape tour was their music, the court their canvas, their playstyle their ink, and the artist was the type of player they were every game. Even with the instant success And 1 enjoyed, its downfall was unfortunate because it could have been prevented. After the mixtape tour, consumer interests began to decline and players became aggravated because they weren’t being compensated fairly. For example, one of the players “The Dribbling Machine” expressed the discontent that the And 1 roster had with the company’s founders as “Poverty Pimpin’. His indignant disposition regarding how the players were treated in terms of financially is understandable and valid. They were the golden geese that would continuously lay their efforts on the blacktop only for the founders to exploit them. One of the founders of And 1 regretfully expressed that they should have looked at the players more like employees as opposed to brand endorsers. And 1 could have given them stock options and the profits could have been divided up fairly and evenly amongst the players. This poor display of business management was one of many reasons for the demise of the original And 1 brand’s success. As of today, the company is still active but under a new parent company. 

All things considered, And 1’s repute was strong in the early 2000s and that gave them the confidence to take on a juggernaut brand like Nike, but they lost momentum after the mixtape tour and it was unfortunate because And 1 is still a brand that is respected but not to the extent when it was in its prime. I would have liked to see more insight on the mixtape tour, how And 1 helped contribute to the popularity of mixtapes in the early 2000s, and the process it took to revive the brand under new management. All in all, it was a satisfying documentary. If you’re a basketball fan and remember the phenomenon of And 1 then definitely check this out.  

Return to the foundation

Some say the game of basketball evolved 

In some ways it has 

But the foundation revolved around the fundamentals 

Which were essential

The game ain’t the same

A new claim to fame is beyond the three-point line

You’re big, go for a higher percentage!

Use what is most effective for success

Don’t settle for what’s “cool”

The Last Dance (Chicago Bulls documentary review)

  • What time is it game time woo!

Last month the much anticipated ESPN documentary series “The Last Dance” which documents the 1998 Chicago Bulls season was released, and I must say that it’s been a captivating series that had the longtime basketball fanatic and player in me eager to watch the following weekends episodes once it premiered. I will say that much of the events that happened to the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan is knowledge I’ve already known or knew a bit about but this series added more clarity and with the different perspectives to hear from such as Phil Jackson, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Horace Grant, Steve Kerr and more of the Bull champions and contemporaries, it never becomes dull. These guys added more depth to stories that were familiar to me but with their perspectives, viewers can go behind the scenes and explore aspects of the Bulls legacy that was under wraps. They explain the debacles that occurred throughout the 1998 season and it brings everything full circle when it focuses on a central player in the episode’s plot line and explaining their affect on the team overall. In addition, the man who was usually the focal point and had a lot of stories revolve around him was Michael Jordan. In regards to that, Jordan gave candid interviews about his experiences beginning from his college days at North Carolina and winning the NCAA championship to being drafted to mediocre Bulls of that time. It becomes a roller coaster ride for the viewer from there on out. Furthermore, one of the stand out time frames of the Chicago Bulls franchise and what made them grow and flourish were the wars with the late 1980’s Detroit Pistons. The Pistons would do whatever they could to annihilate the spirit and damage Michael Jordan to the point where he had trouble finding ways to overcome the excruciating obstacle. However, with the right coach, a new offense, and an improved mindset and stronger body the Detroit Pistons went from being his nightmare to opening his dreams once he and the Bulls defeated them. From 1991 to 1998 Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls ruled the 1990’s except for a few years with two other champions (94 Rockets,95 Rockets,99 Spurs). The Chicago Bulls fame and especially Michael Jordan became worldwide and with that exposure, it became the catalyst for basketball to become popular in foreign nations.

The Last Dance has its joyous moments but it does have the somber side of it when it deals with the death of Michael Jordan’s father and how the media scrutinized and speculated that his father’s death was connected to Jordan’s extracurricular activities. With some time away from the game and three more championships later it was the aftermath of 1996 Bulls championships which landed on Father’s day that made that championship year even sweeter. The night of the victory Jordan released the pent up sadness and grief for his father that he held onto since his retirement and it was a moment of silence for the series. I don’t want to divulge any longer on everything that happened because what I say is level surface information compared to how deep the documentary digs into. I will say that director Jason Heir did an outstanding job when it came to compiling footage and interviews that corresponded to the episode’s theme and story line. The musical score was appropriate to the decade such as old school golden age hip hop of the 1980’s to the hardcore hip hop of the 1990s. This was an incredible documentary to show and captivate a new generation of basketball fans and add some new twists to the nostalgia older fans who are familiar with the dynasty of 90’s Chicago Bulls. Tomorrow will conclude the series with episode 9 and 10 on ESPN. Leave a like and comment if you’d like to chime in on the documentary series if you’ve seen it or have any questions. Also give my blog and follow my page so you can stay up to date for future posts. As always peace and keep it real.

My rating for the film 5/5, Grade : A

Honoring the legacy of Kobe Bryant: The Black Mamba

  • This post is in the memory of Kobe Bryant a.k.a The Black Mamba

Sometimes we hear news we don’t want to believe, but eventually as the truth comes to the surface it begins for us to mourn and reflect on the impact a person has had on ours lives even if we didn’t know them personally. I got the viral news today that NBA legend Kobe Bryant died alongside his daughter Gianna in a helicopter crash in Calabasas California. At first, I saw TMZ reports and couldn’t believe it but after an hour with multiple sources covering it the reality set in that an icon that I grew up watching and admiring as a kid was gone. It puts things into perspective that we can go at any time so we have to make the most of the days and affect not only ourselves but for others around us. As much I love the game of basketball and watched Kobe during his championship years with the Lakers it was great to know that he found success quickly outside of Basketball by creating a basketball theme series of books for adolescents. He topped that off by winning an Oscar for his short film “Dear Basketball” in 2018. Having said that, what is the most disheartening thing about his passing is that he wasn’t officially inducted into the Naismith memorial basketball hall of fame and we will never get to hear the speech he would have delivered, but hopefully by the end the year he will be inducted posthumously. He had a lot to give to other young players especially his daughter Gianna. With his help she probably could have made the WNBA. In conclusion, the game of basketball lost an icon and I salute and praise the achievements I was fortunate enough to witness Kobe Bryant demonstrate. Keep the people you love the closet to you and let them you love them because life’s short, and age isn’t a factor when death comes to collect. I would like to leave a link to the Oscar-winning short film Dear Basketball for you to witness the love Kobe had for the game of basketball. R.I.P Kobe Bryant the game has your impact embedded in it forever. If you can reciprocate my grief then leave a like and comment if you feel the need to, and give my page a follow so you can stay up to date with future posts. As always peace, keep it real and one love to the The Black Mamba.

Image result for kobe bryant

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