The 2014 BallUp Street Tour

The 2014 BallUp Street Tour
An interview with The Professor and Baby Shaq
Interviewed and written by Aaron Robinson – Editor & Tocarra Eldridge - Journalist

BallUp players in Chicago at
Grant Part in front of The Bean
Families and fans filled the Jones Convocation Center auditorium at Chicago State University in Chicago, Illinois for another amazing and exciting event of the 2014 BallUp Street Tour. Earlier in the day local basketball players were encouraged to tryout and test their skills for a spot on the Chicago Team. Players who made the cut would go against the undefeated BallUp team and compete in the main event. In their efforts, the local players could have a chance to go pro, receive a spot on the BallUp roster and sign a contract worth $100,000.

During the main event, as the players lined the floor, NBA star Joakim Noah of the Chicago Bulls would eventfully coach the Chicago Team who played a very competitive game throughout the first, second, third and forth quarter. While the thrill of the magical plays continued, Gilbert Arenas would show his support during the game. Furthermore, the announcer would exhilarate the crowd as the players played four quarters of nonstop action. Eventually, the BallUp team would shine once more on their tour while traveling from city to city as the game came to an end.

After the game, I was able to catch up with two stars of the BallUp team, The Professor and Baby Shaq. Here is what they had to share conceerning another exciting game, going up against their competitors and their ambition and love for the sport of basketball.


Aaron Robinson: What are your thoughts on the overall game you played tonight? How do you think you played? Did you bring your ‘A’ game tonight?
The Professor: Me, personally, I only played like 6 minutes. I wasn’t very happy with my situation; we have 13 guys so every game at least one or two guys are gonna get the short end of the stick and not play as much as they’d like to. I thought when I was in there it was cool. I brought some energy, but I didn’t get a chance to go hard like I wanted to. Nonetheless, we got a good win. We played a good team. The momentum was high.

Left to right: Tocarra Eldridge (Journalist) &The Professor... 
Aaron Robinson (Editor of Consciousness Magazine) and Baby Shaq
Aaron: In regards to your opponents, did they bring their ‘A’ game with them tonight?
The Professor: Yeah, they did! They were pretty hard nose.  I know there was fouling on both sides. In a way that was good because it’s worth coming out to see the game. Getting physical and active is the best way, because if you’re not… you kind of get debo’d out of a win. That happens a lot of the time with teams. They’ll come in and back down because they’ll be fans of ours and won’t bring the same kind of physicality. You know, we got Baby Shaq, The Violator, etc. If they don’t equal the intensity it’s going to be problems. But they [other team] definitely did equal the intensity, as we expected. Chicago always brings it!

Aaron: What’s the toughest city that you think you’ve went up against thus far?
The Professor: New York was a really tough game. We won by a few points. The most competition is usually LA, New York, Chicago, and maybe Indianapolis. They’re, [Indianapolis] like the only smaller city that brings their best players out.


Aaron: Who was your most competitive player on the court today on your opposing team?
Baby Shaq: I would have to say all of them. I give it up for the team. They all played hard.

Aaron: I know it was great competition tonight. You came out killing with the three’s and played a good game. Do you take your game strategy city to city?
Baby Shaq: I have to man! I’ve earned my respect and now I have to keep it. So, I just play that way every game.

Aaron: What’s it been like being a part of the BallUp Tour?
Baby Shaq: It’s been great! I’m getting back with a lot of my old teammates from And1. It’s like being home again…home away from home.

Aaron: Traveling city to city, what is your toughest competition?
Baby Shaq: I want to say the toughest was LA and New York.

BallUp players in Chicago
 in front of United Center
Aaron: What are your overall thoughts on the game for tonight?
Baby Shaq: It was a great game! The refs made it kind of blah for like 2 or 3 minutes, because they just let us run back and forth tackling each other, which took the fun out of the game. Overall, it was cool.

Aaron: You mentioned teaming back up with your teammates from And1, is that still up and running or did BallUp take over?
Baby Shaq: We basically took over. They still have games here and there, but overall we’ve taken over.

Aaron: What was your inspiration behind being a part of streetball in particular?
Baby Shaq: The grassroots of the sport. It came from outside – in the alleys, playing on milk crates, then everybody upgraded to the basket rims. It just reminds me of how we used to play basketball behind my house in the alley, rough – you get scratched, you fall, that’s fine, but you get back up. It keeps me grounded.

Aaron: Did the game just come natural to you or did you have to make many sacrifices in your life to get to where you are today?
Baby Shaq: I sacrificed a lot. I gave up what could have been a good basketball career, as far as college and all that, but I gave it up for my family. I needed money right away so I chose the streetball route because the money was there. I had to provide for my family.

Aaron: Any regrets?
Baby Shaq: No, no regrets. My kids are healthy; nobody’s starving. That’s my main goal to provide for my family.

Aaron: What’s next for Baby Shaq after streetball? Are there any other endeavors that you plan to partake in?
Baby Shaq: I’m going to play until my knees give out. Then I’m going to pass my knowledge on to my son. I plan to coach AAU, like in the 7 to 10 age range; they [children] don’t care about the business side of basketball, they care about the fun side. I just want to let them know the business side is going to be there when you get older, but have fun.

Aaron: For your fans and those looking up to you, what advice would you give them to be successful?
Baby Shaq: My advice to them is finish school first, because steetball will always be there. Your education is more important. Basketball will only take care of you for so long, so get your education first.

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