Thursday, July 3, 2008
Earlier this week I was a warm-up host for the Team USA event at Rockefeller Center. Click on the link for an excellent photo re-cap by Matt Halfhill, founder and Editor-in-Chief of Nicekicks.com
Together with Walt Frazier
...wait, not that one. This one:
...I rallied the kids sitting in the bleachers that flanked the sides of the famous ice rink. It was covered with a court to make way for the festivities. There were dancers from movies like Stomp the Yard and Step Up 2 the Streets, Pro Drummers, a kid troupe that dances at Liberty games called Li'l Torches and trick baller extraordinaires.
One member of the Harlem Magic Masters dunked over the heads of FOUR KIDS. If you look closely, you can see me cowering in fear next to a body guard.
The event also featured the music-mixing of DJ Clark Kent and some emcee stylings of Dave Jeff of Phli Worldwide.
It threatened to rain during rehearsal, but by show-time we were treated to an afternoon in the sun. Tourists and other passersby gathered around the periphery before the show started, watching the Harlem Magic Masters shoot around (shooting around included 360-degree slam dunks and rolling a ball down their backs to ricochet off their butts at bullet speed). Flipz came out to rehearse with the B-Boy Ballers, professional dancers that reminded me of how far I am from making pop-and-lock a profession.
Remember that hip-hop movie preview where a guy skids all the way across a stage on his bare head? A guy named Cricket did that for us.
Drummers rocked out on plastic buckets which drew even more people. The media started to set up, and the buses full of kids from Philly and DC lined the streets.
When they entered and were seated, the show was on. They were treated to all the talent I mentioned before along with improvisations by Maddie the Liberty mascot, free thundersticks to beat, and a game of HORSE which earned an entire side of bleachers (mine) a FREE PAIR OF NIKES.
Kevin Frazier came out to interview the coaches of Team USA, and then it was go time. By the time Team USA came out, I couldn't hold the kids back. They were clamoring to get to the court and take pictures of the players. For the first time in my life, I wished I were in the NBA. There was nothing but love and sheer joy in that arena for an entire ten minutes. Then everyone remembered the blazing heat and went back to their seats.
I had one staff member recognize me from a show I did a year ago, and several other chaperones took pics with me (presumably to supplement their life savings, as my image will be very valuable in 12 years). It was a memorable day, and one for the resume.