Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Streetball with locals around South America: Christmas Day in Bogotá, Colombia

It's Christmas Day! Today I completed my mission to hoop with locals in every Country visited in South America. This continues my successful run in Europe 2011 having found a basketball experience in each Country visited there also. In the Candelaria barrio of Colombia's capital Bogotá I hooped with some cool kids. By nightfall we were joined by street performers which made for quite the visual.

After today's effort I'm 6 for 6, having balled in Chile, Argentina, Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador and Colombia.

Over the months my Spanish has improved, this experience made a little sweeter with the ability to communicate more. I scored a few tips on where to find the best live HipHop, one of the chicos was a Chef so I'm looking forward to sampling his Restaurant.
Above the Rim
Ball, Beats and Beer
It's Christmas Day! Bogotá, Colombia
Controlling the paint
He's heating up
He's lighting up the floor
Other adventures in South America:
Streetball in Santiago, Chile
- My time in Caracas, Venezuela for FIBA Americas 2013
- Finding Basketball on the Frontera of Brazil and Argentina
- Streetball with locals around South America: Christmas Day in Bogotá, Colombia

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

'30 Home Games' meets 'Taiwan Sometimes': Viral Video mission to dance in 100 different Countries

I haven't met too many people with missions on the road, when I have they've been light and usually halfhearted. That said there are no shortage of epic travel missions crawling the web and circling the Globe.
I met an unassuming man in a Popayán hostel in Colombia, he mentioned being in a parade days earlier with the President in attendance. He showed me his photos amongst locals in traditional costume, nothing out of the ordinary so far.

I generally don't gravitate towards indigenous or traditional cultures, being a city kid I'm more interested in modern subcultures and communities. My basketball mission is a testament to that. That said I'm ultimately interested in humanity, what gives purpose and brings joy. This is common in all people and cultures.
'30 Home Games' meets 'Taiwan Sometimes'
(Note: You'll notice Ed rocking this KD35 jersey in his Viral vids)
Through further conversation my dorm-mate Ed explained his plans for South America. He was traveling to film a costumed character from Taiwanese folklore, planning to dance with colorful locals in each place. Colombia was his 63rd Country. The first video was shot in India 2011 and drew inspiration from the popular "Where the hell is Matt" clips.

VIDEO: Where the hell is that Taiwan guy? (South America 2012)

Ed's mission is to promote cultural awareness of Taiwan which he feels doesn't have global exposure because of the long shadow cast by China. I mentioned Taiwan had appeared on my radar because of a visible tourism campaign in Sydney and the meteoric rise of basketball star Jeremy Lin. He replied with a curt "So?" which gave me pause.

Does knowing one famous person from a Country mean you know the place? I realised how absurd my logic was. It's something I've pondered when I've tried to connect to people and where they're from through basketball. Interestingly Ed mentioned that Taiwan wasn't able to compete in the London Olympics under its own flag which demonstrates the complicated politics they have to contend with. It also speaks to the reach and symbolism of sport.

When you travel you meet so many people and visit so many places that most of the insight you gleam is superficial. Personally I don't feel it makes it less profound, curiosity and experience are the keys to awareness and we can choose to go deeper once the doors are open. It was a pleasure meeting Ed, we compared notes on the challenges of pursuing a mission but also the great relationships and opportunities that arise from them. Admittedly his aims are far loftier and meaningful than mine.

Ed in 'Desierto De La Tatacoa', Colombia (Facebook)
Check out Ed's pursuits below:
- Like 'Taiwan Sometimes' Facebook page
- View Ed Wu's Youtube Channel
I encourage you to connect with him if he ever comes down your neck of the woods :)

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Photography book - Hoop: The American Dream by Robin Layton

TrueHoop TV (Nov 28, 2013)
HENRY ABBOTT: What was the most fun part of shooting this?
ROBIN LAYTON: Oh gosh! Well I grabbed a friend of mine, we rented a van and literally zigzagged across America. I guess the fun part -all of it was fun- just meeting all the different people, knocking on strangers' doors and asking to take pictures of their hoop... just all the different people and how kind Americans are, people all across America to us and how generous they were
ABBOTT: How did you find the hoops?
LAYTON: You know we just randomly looked, drove in the back roads, we knew that Larry Bird's was in French Lick and we knew of a few that were out there and when I was interviewing players they would tell me if they had an existing hoop or not.
But mostly it was just by driving around and by chance coming across them which was really... it's like an Easter Egg hunt. It was really, really fun to do and definitely a challenge to make a 100 hoops look different, it was challenging but it was fun to search for them
Hoop: The American Dream by Robin Layton
Robin Layton is a wonderful inspiration for my own #30HomeGames journey having visited so many places in North America. I've had the pleasure of finding hoops and planting my own flag in Courts around Europe and South America and one day hope to do the same in the States. I've been taking photos of the more unique courts I've found in my travels though unfortunately most weren't in use. Like Robin stated, the joy for me is the connection with people. The documentation is bonus.
A map of the places Robin and friend Kim Carney found hoops
Interestingly Robin's running mate Kim Carney collected found objects in each of the Courts they visited which creates an interesting mosaic of Americana and wonderful memento trigger of their odyssey.

- Find Robin's offical photobook website here - hoop: the american dream™
- Relive Robin's journey on her hoop blog
- Buy the Photo Book from Robin's Online shop

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

My most scenic court yet: Courts by Flamengo beach, Rio de Janeiro

The hoop I shot around on. Sugarloaf in the back
I never came on the weekend, when it surely would have been full.
Did meet some Amateur Flamengo ballers on a night out in Lapa.
I arrived in Rio a fortnight after the Washington Wizards and Chicago Bulls played a 2013 preseason game as part of the NBA Global Games initiative. I don't think the Teams made it to these courts but it seems the Bulls did take a photo op along Flamengo Beach nearby.

The Chicago Bulls posing by Flamengo Beach,
the iconic Sugarloaf Mountains in the distance
This might be the most scenic court I've had the pleasure to play in.
I've hooped by the beaches of Barcelona but these courts by Flamengo beach in Rio de Janeiro has a view of the water and the famous Sugarloaf Mountain in the background.
What's the most scenic court you've played on?
- View my gallery of 'Courts in South America' (Facebook)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Basketball courts in Antofagasta, Chile

I only got my camera recently and have been at peace with missing some amazing photos of Basketball in South America. The most stark image I was witness to were the abandoned courts of Antofagasta in the North of Chile. I had assumed the scenery was due to a Tsunami that struck the Country but later found it was simply a stagnation of development in the area.

In a São Paulo exhibition I found a collection from photographer Stefan Ruiz which captured the courts of Antofagasta. That said this is a more vibrant portrait than the hauntingly abandoned courts I found by the coast.

I posted this here rather than the Tumblr blog as this is more an Open Call requesting anyone in Antofagasta to submit photos of Courts in the city.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

X-rays of my index finger. Dislocated in Caracas, Venezuela

#30HomeGames Souvenir: X-rays of my index finger
4 week and 3 Countries later I finally attended to my finger. Sustained while deflecting a pass playing 3 on 3 in Caracas, Venezuela. My first experience seeing a dislocation of any kind.
Fortunately my amigo's dad in Brazil worked at a Medical Center as an X-ray scanner. I got to sneak in and get some instant scans done. Nothing major though I expect it to be a long recovery till it fully heals.
Finger crossed. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Blacktop memories: High School proving Grounds in the Western Suburbs of Sydney

Dunno about you guys but its been over 10 years since I last stepped foot on these courts - we had some epic and hilarious battles where 'Jordan' 'Hardaway' 'Kemp' 'Sprewell' 'Pippen' were the heroes names being called / impersonated at the time. Priceless - GD
Courtesy of an amigo's Fbook post. Never played much streetball during my High School days so I don't have as many blacktop memories as I'd like. As far as I can remember these Courts between my old Primary school (attended Grades 3-6) and Senior High School (Grades 11-12) were my earliest proving grounds. It'd be nice to have a throwback game with the boys, to see how much we've improved and how
age has wearied us.
... and to remember the times when we were just young ballers.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Finding Basketball on the Frontera of Brazil and Argentina

I’ve had a good run my last two Countries having found my Basketball Experience on the day of Arrival. Whilst waiting for my bus to Porto Alegre on the frontera of Argentina and Brazil I stumbled onto this meeting of hoopsheads - 7º Encontro de Basqueteiros de Uruguaiana (7th meeting for Basketballers of Uruguaiana).

I met the organiser and got to join the festivities by shooting from the line.

Great Tees made for the gathering
Shot 4 from 10 at the line. My dislocated finger still a bother.
I’m 4 of 4 as far as basketball experiences in each Country though :)
The Road. The game and my life in a Bag
7º Encontro de Basqueteiros de Uruguaiana
The Organiser is a Brazilian Larry David. When I posted this on Facebook
an amigo remarked “That’s my high school teacher!“. Small world.
Other adventures in South America:
Streetball in Santiago, Chile
- My time in Caracas, Venezuela for FIBA Americas 2013
- Finding Basketball on the Frontera of Brazil and Argentina
- Streetball with locals around South America: Christmas Day in Bogota, Colombia

Saturday, September 21, 2013

My time in Caracas, Venezuela for FIBA Americas 2013

"You're here just for the Basketball. That's crazy!"
Krendyll, Caracas Local
I backpacked Europe in 2011 and found a basketball experience in each Country I visited. The icing being my month for EuroBasket in hoopsmad Lithuania. Hitting the road again, I figured I'd check out the Americas equivalent. It just happened to be in Venezuela's capital Caracas, a part of South America most travelers skip. Notorious for its high homicide rate, its the type of place so exotic and dangerous that VICE TV spotlighted it - Venezuelan Body Count.

At the frontera of Argentina and Brazil. The hoop and my life in a bag.
I arrived in South America July and spent the first 2 months surveying whether it was wise to continue with the Caracas mission. I got to play streetball in Santiago with Couchsurfers. It was the inaugural gathering for what is now a weekly meeting in Chile's Capital. I hooped in Rosario, Argentina and connected with a Cali-bred Rosarino who was part of a volunteer solidarity group (Oroño 252) that assembled after the recent gas explosion that rocked the city. I spent the evening with them at a Sports Club and house gathering. As always, Basketball has helped connect me with locals despite the language barrier.
CouchSurfing Santiago - Weekly Basketball meetup
Of all the Countries I've ever visited, Caracas has had the steepest learning curve. They have a parallel market much like Argentina (only more severe) where its in the people's best interests to save in a more stable currency outside their own. Withdrawing from a Cash point in Venezuela gets you only 6 Bolivares (bsf) for every $1USD, whilst trading Cash in the Mercado Negra (Black Market) can get you a whopping 37 Bolivares. Using the trusted McDonald's scale its the difference between a $1.60 Big Mac and a $10 one.

As I didn't bring plenty of $USD and was in a country with no infrastructure for Backpackers. I realised the 2 weeks I had allotted for the duration of the FIBA Americas was biting off more than I could chew. On the first day I spent a quarter of my funds ($45). I paid $31 cash for what seemed like the only hostel in the city. It would be my first lesson - NEVER pay in cash dollars! Due to the rising inflation it'd be like giving away Lebron James rookie cards. As recently as a month ago the Parallel rate for $1USD jumped from 31bsf to 38bsf in just 2 weeks.

Once I realised my dire situation I was in scramble mode. I went to the Government Hotel listed on the official FIBA page to see if I could score free accommodation at their 5 star establishment with trumped up Press credentials (I'm sure I was the only Australian there for the Basketball). I got into the main office and they heard my story, despite convincing them they were the featured habitation on the official webpage, they unfortunately couldn't help and knew nothing of the tournament.

The courts by La Hoyada. I saw more courts in my 2 weeks in Caracas
than I did in 2 months around Chile and Argentina. They were actually occupied too.
Credit: Brian I
Surviving Caracas was a miraculous feat of Miami Game 6 proportions. Putting myself in position but having the right sequence of events work in my favour. A timely assist from newly made friends, poise during clutch time and good old fashioned luck. I did eventually figure the city out, as a local assured me "You'll be fine. People in Caracas are surviving everyday". I found accommodation and a diet that fit into my $8 daily allowance, interestingly as soon as I breathed a sigh of relief I started to get greedy. Once Maslow's 'Hierarchy of needs' was met I started coveting things and wishing I had more. Not unlike Laker fans lamenting their short 2013 playoff run sans Kobe forgetting that they scraped into the Postseason and things could have been unthinkably worse. If only I could get the 76ers' Andrew Bynum tee or the "Sheed" High School jersey I spotted. Ridiculous! Only the day previous I contemplated commuting to the airport each night for sleep and was scavenging around the food court for half finished drinks. With cash from outside you can live like a king, without it you might as well have Monopoly money.

The ballers in Caracas aren't always equipped but they're ready to play
Credit: Brian I
Imagine if everything you ever needed was $2 but you had to live on only $50 a week, this was my reality but one still more fortunate than 2/3 of the population who lived on 3000bsf ($90) a month. The basketball itself cost less than $3 for the cheapest seats. The stadium only getting full during the night schedule when Venezuela were playing. They began offering Courtside seats as General admission to accentuate the sparse crowd for the TV audience. Entry was free on the day Venezuela had a bye, incidentally on this day there was a citywide blackout that postponed the game between the Dominican Republic and Paraguay. The lights dimmed to chants of "Chavez! Chavez!" during the 4th quarter with the Dominican Republic well ahead. Players posed for photos and challenged each other to Half Court H-O-R-S-E as they waited over an hour in darkness.

The Venezuela games were a sight to behold. To watch a Nationalistic Country support their underdog team and to have them perform leagues above their talent was captivating. Frankly I was surprised each time Venezuela put points on the board but they ended up making believers of everyone. My first Vinotinto game was against the Dominican Republic, the Carribeans had just trounced defending Champs Argentina by 19 and Venezuela squeaked by a winless Paraguay team. As would be a signature for all their games, the hosts would build an improbable lead buoyed by its partisan crowd, the closing quarters were nailbiting theatre to see whether the dream would take hold or if reality would assert its natural order. Venezuela hung on by 5.

The partisan and raucous Venezuelan crowd
Credit: @FVBaloncesto
My final Venezuela game was against the Tournaments' form team Puerto Rico. VinoTinto built a lead of 17 which they preserved to end the first 2 quarters. It was slow torture as Puerto Rico fought back led by JJ Barea's poise. The 3rd quarter Venezuela kept them at bay scoring exclusively on treys. Venezuela would cruelly lose by one despite standout player, Donta Smith having 3 chances to ice the game in the dying seconds of Regulation and OT. Venezuela tied with Argentina on Competition points but did not advance to the Semis. As it stood Venezuela's 3 losses came at the hands of the Top 3 Finalists. They sold shirts that said "Si se Puede" (Yes we can) and they certainly lived up to it.

Caracas wasn't without its share of misadventure. On my first day I won a game of 2on2 on a limp, playing some kids after having stepped on a bolt that morning. With the full weight of my backpack, the bolt pierced through my shoe and foot drawing blood. On the closing days I got a run of 3on3 on the Parque Oeste courts where I had my first experience dislocating a finger.

Basketball was the reason I was in Caracas but it was merely a pretext. My game isn't great but my emphasis is on the Social aspect. Putting myself out there, connecting with people through a shared love of the hoops. I'm happy to wing my way through most cities as I find the discovery exhilarating but Caracas I had hyped up in my mind. I had what I can only describe as my first panic attack leading up to my arrival. Having your sights set on something projects a confidence (or stubborness) that can propel you past the doubts. With optimism by my side its always led to great rewards, exotic places and interesting connections. Caracas has far been the grandest ride of my 30 Home Games mission. I had never spent as much or risked so much to find basketball. Caracas is an incredible city with friendly, open people where life truly is an adventure. I was glad to be a part of it.

I didn't survive Caracas, I lived it. If only for 2 weeks.

This post is dedicated to the incredible people that helped me during my two weeks in Caracas: Brian, Krendyll, Mario, Aida and Katryn. 

Other adventures in South America:
Streetball in Santiago, Chile
- My time in Caracas, Venezuela for FIBA Americas 2013
- Finding Basketball on the Frontera of Brazil and Argentina
- Streetball with locals around South America: Christmas Day in Bogota, Colombia 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

NBA Player suiting up in FIBA Americas, Caracas 2013

With the help of Hoops Hype I've compiled a list of the NBA Players one can expect to find in FIBA Americas, Caracas 2013.

Luis Scola of the Indiana Pacers
Argentina (1 of 4)
PF Luis Scola, IND
SF Carlos Delfino, MIL
SG Manu Ginobili, SAS
PG Pablo Prigioni, NYK

(0 of 6)
SG Leandro Barbosa, WAS
C Nenê, WAS
C Fab Melo, BOS
C Tiago Splitter, SAS
C Anderson Varejao, CLE
C Vitor Faverani, BOS  

Joel Anthony of the Miami Heat
Canada (5 of 10)
C Joel Anthony, MIA
PG Cory Joseph, SAS
SG Kris Joseph, BKN
PF Andrew Nicholson, ORL
PF Tristan Thompson, CLE
C Samuel Dalembert, DAL
PG Steve Nash, LAL
C Robert Sacre, LAL
PF Kelly Olynyk, BOS
SF Anthony Bennett, CLE
Fransisco Garcia of the Houston Rockets
Dominican Republic (1 of 3)
SF Francisco Garcia, HOU  
C Al Horford, ATL
SF Charlie Villanueva
Jamaica (0 of 1)
Roy Hibbert
Gustavo Ayon of the Atlanta Hawks
Mexico (1 of 1)
PF Gustavo Ayon, ATL

JJ Barea of the Minnesota Timberwolves
Puerto Rico (1 of 1)
SG JJ Barea, MIN
Greivis Vasquez of the Sacramento Kings
Venezuela (1 of 1)
PG Greivis Vasquez, SAC

Definitely going to get a Souvenir 'Caracas 2013' T shirt. The Vasquez, Venezuela jersey as well as the Luis Scola, Argentina one look the most enticing to me.

Update: Whilst Venezuela's star player was an emotional presence in the tournament, Greivis Vasquez was unable to play due to his rehabbed ankle. "I would like to play (at the FIBA Americas Championship), it's a desire that I feel in my heart, but at the same time I understand this is the correct decision. "I am sure that I will be an important player in the future of the national team of Venezuela.".
Greivis was recently traded to the Sacramento Kings and is one of the fastest rising stars in the NBA.
Credit: @FVBaloncesto
- My time in Caracas, Venezuela for FIBA Americas 2013

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Live Basketball Store: Basketball Heaven in Cordoba, Argentina

Argentina are the only team that has comprehensively bested Team USA in International competition (Olympics 2004 and FIBA World Championships 2002). As such I was expecting a healthy support for Basketball. Despite spotting a humble Luis Scola mural and seeing a Manu Ginobili graphic for the Gatorade stand in the Supermercado I'd seen very little. None of the big Sporting stores and brands stocked basketball merch, not even sneakers for the most part. Let alone singlets and shorts.
(Update: I've been told the reason is a trade embargo rather than a lack of demand. Items need to be manufactured in Argentina.)

I was pretty bummed, that was until I discovered 'Live Basketball' in the student town of Cordoba. Occupying the first level it was Basketball paradise. I was in luck as currently there was an exposición for hometown hero Fabricio Oberto. It contained murals, medals, jerseys and sneakers from all his stints playing Basketball around the world including his Championship Ring for with the 2007 San Antonio Spurs and the 2004 Olympic Gold Medal. There were kiosks for each of his teams with videos highlighting his finest plays and Oberto's experience in each city.

The store stocked some cool Argentinian merchandise as well as NBA Gear.
Seriously, Basketball Heaven!

VIDEO: Live Basketball StopMotion

Fabricio Oberto: 10 yrs in NBA
10+ Years representing Argentina's National team

Oberto posing with FIBA and Olympic medals
Oberto's International jerseys and awards
Live Basketball Store
Full Court press
McFarlane Toys NBA Action figures
Manu Ginóbili jerseys
Shoe sizes for Wade, kobe, LeBron, Yao and Shaq
'Live Basketball' Cordoba, Argentina
More about 'Live Basketball':
Peatonal 25 de Mayo 34
Córdoba, Capital
- Read the 'Live Basketball' Blog
- Like the 'Live Basketball' Facebook page
- Watch the 'Live Basketball' YouTube Channel
- About Founder Pablo Cabial

Update: Found another dedicated Basketball store in Argentina, this time in Rosario.
MVP Store
Tucuman 1319,
Rosario, Santa Fe
MVP Store - Official Facebook page

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Pierre Johannessen and Big Bang Ballers: Basketball used to Empower Youth

The '30 Home Games' mission is my way of connecting with people around the World, using our collective passion for the game of Basketball. Sharing the Court opens conversation and leads to further invitations. It eases the tension when a language barrier exists. Canberran Pierre Johannessen also sees the power of Basketball and has used it to empower kids from all over the World. earning him the distinction of 2010 ACT Young Australian of the Year.
Throwing a basketball at big problems “We use basketball to fight youth poverty and social disadvantage, and that’s a big way of saying we basically just play basketball with kids,” he explains, sitting in his office at Isaacs shops, where he and his mother run a small law firm... ”He traces the simple idea back to late 2007, when he was shooting hoops in Bangladesh with a couple of French expats and a local guy. He was in the country working with Habitat for Humanity through the Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development program. “You can do it with anything – you can do it with music, you can do it with arts – it just so happened that basketball was what we knew at the time,” he says.
It's incredible to see that the modest idea of "just playing basketball" coupled with visionary dedication can achieve so much. Hats off to Pierre for his work Empowering the Youth and his great ambassadorship of Basketball.

VIDEO: TEDxCanberra - Pierre Johannessen - 
International development, basketball and valuing youth

 Find more about Big Ballers and Pierre Johannessen below - Big Bang Ballers website - Pierre Johannessen's personal blog - Pierre Johannessen at TEDx Camberra

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Streetball in Santiago, Chile via Couchsurfing

"Heavy D"

Crashing the Boards
Barkley goes Coast to Coast
I got my first run of South America in Santiago, Chile at Parque Inés de Suárez. A Polish girl organised a Basketball event via Couchsurfing and 5 of us showed up for the inaugural meet. We played full court with some locals and we dominated them handily. At one point it was 8-0 with all the points posted by the 3 girls on the court.

Our Polish organiser had actually organised previous Basketball events in places like Buenos Aires and Chicago. The two other girls on our team were Australian, one had previously toured the States with her Year 11 Basketball team and had experience playing with American Competition in schools around California.

This is only the second time I've played organised hoops via Couchsurfing, interestingly it was also organised by an expat. If you're in Santiago and interested in playing some Ball you can find regular Couchsurfing meetings here - Basketball Couchsurfing Santiago

Update: December 2013
After being involved in the inaugural week of this CS meet its heartening to see its still going strong. Entering its 16th week at the time of this writing. Myself and the original Organiser are no longer a part of it as we've moved onto other Countries. P* the only Chileno who represented the first week has done an admirable job with the reins.
Full Court
The girls from the first week are still reppin it
Other adventures in South America:
Streetball in Santiago, Chile
- My time in Caracas, Venezuela for FIBA Americas 2013
- Finding Basketball on the Frontera of Brazil and Argentina
- Streetball with locals around South America: Christmas Day in Bogota, Colombia

Find other Basketball experiences facilitated by Couchsurfing:
- Social Sunday Sports, Basketball in London via Couchsurfing
- Streetball in Santiago, Chile via Couchsurfing
- Baloncesto: I love this game - Basketball in Europe (PtI: España)
Balancing Basketball and Travel in Lithuania - Part I

Monday, July 1, 2013

F*Yesta: 6 Months in South America

'Loz in Transit' goes to South America
My next Adventure will be a jaunt around South America with a projected return after 6 months. Dubbed the "F*Yesta" it will be a continuation of the YesMan spirit that carried me through the last few years in Australia and Europe. Whilst over there I'll be musing on my travels, finding Basketball experiences and recording podcasts.

- About 'Loz in Transit'
- My Basketball mission in Venezuela

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Jalen Rose's City Power Rankings aka Black Guy City Power Rankings

VIDEO: Jalen Rose's City Power Rankings 
aka Black Guy City Power Rankings

After spending considerable time together in the Blues City for the 2013 NBA Western Conference Finals. Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose came up with an interesting Power Rankings list:
Jalen Rose, Bill Simmons and David Jacoby on The NBA Playoffs Pt 2 | Jalen Rose Report 
BILL SIMMONS: (33m 52s) So Jalen and I were in Memphis and Memphis is definitely an urban city. It piqued my interest, we'd had lunch every day and we were running out of stuff to talk about – "Hey Jalen, let's say I'm an African-American NBA basketball player. What would be my favourite city to visit?" 
JALEN ROSE: Yay! I love this topic.
SIMMONS: ... We jokingly called it the Black guy city power rankings.
ROSE: Everybody that clips this and uses this for their websites and blogs, make sure you title it right. BLACK–GUY–CITY–POWER–RANKINGS. That's what this segment is called... and I'm black if you haven't noticed so it's OK.
The great thing about being a player in the NBA that plays for 6 teams, besides playing for 6 teams and doing it for a living and getting paid is learning different cultures... I loved all the cities I lived in [Denver, Indiana, Chicago, Toronto, New York, Phoenix]
The essentials for appealing to the Black Demographic include:
- No State Taxes
- Good Strip Clubs, Gentleman Clubs
- Being able to take a nap before "kicking it"
- Great Soul food, Restaurants
- Hard Workers, Blue Collar
- Cool Juke joints
- Respectful, friendly interactions

You'll have to listen to get Jalen's full listings. It originally began as a Mt Rushmore list with no particular order but was eventually revealed as a Countdown.

Black Guy City Power Rankings:
Washington DC, Houston, New Orleans, Atlanta, Memphis
Find Champagning and Campaigning posts here:
- NBA Cities: Eastern Conference
- NBA Cities: Western Conference
- Jalen's Black Guy City Power Rankings
Sydney celebration