We marvel at the informal, yet dynamic and skillful art of streetball. To kick off our White Men Can't Jump collaboration, we recently took a trip to Venice Beach to meet some of the pick-up crew running the courts today.

White Men Can't Jump
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J'son 


Q: What do you do outside of hoop?

A: I am an electric muscle stimulation specialist. So over the years, I discovered that nobody likes spending hours working out and not getting the results they want. So we use a full body electric suit to enhance the workouts.

Q: What's your favorite place to run?

A: Dyckman and Rucker. So originally from New York City, I grew up playing Rucker when I started, I was 17 years old playing with the older guys, pro league, Dyckman more recently. So there’s nothing like New York City basketball in the summertime. Hoops in the sun, pro-am. Just going around from park to park, really representing New York. And now I have a unique opportunity to come out here to California and go to Venice Beach and all these other major professional leagues. So it’s exciting times.

Q: What do you get out of playing pick-up?

A: I think age is just a number. You're as young as you feel. And basketball has been a love for me for years. And so it helps keep me young. It helps me stay vibrant, stay... I channel my inner child. I tap into my inner child quite a bit. I've become more spiritual these days. So, just keeping the body, the mind, the soul, keeping it active and healthy. Yeah. I'm a biohacker now, man, just optimizing the body the best way we can.

Q: Do much sh*t talking?

A: So I’m a pretty reserved player until someone gets under my skin, and then we get the trash talking and then things get serious. So I’d rather let my game speak for itself, back it up. A lot of guys talk trash to try to intimidate you, try to get you out of your game. It’s a mind game. But growing up in these streets in New York City, it was a perfect opportunity for me to channel the trash talking and apply it towards my game to allow that to speak for itself.

Q: Cash games?

A: Oh, absolutely. I played professional overseas, and five years playing in Finland and Sweden. Had an amazing career, won the championship. You know, it was a blessing to be able to get paid for what you love doing. Overseas life isn't for everyone, and I have a lot of friends that are still playing, and yeah. You know, I've been able to travel the world and meet a lot of great people playing this game.

Q: Any memories of White Men Cant Jump?

A: So I love White Men Can't Jump. I grew up watching it. And the greatest part was the hustle. Seeing this unassuming white boy come on the court and connect with a legend like Sidney Deane and then take over the LA streets, it's a beautiful thing. It's a classic. And people are looking to always have that feeling in street ball. So a lot of great memories.

Tshombe 

Q: What do you do outside of hoop?

A: I'm a film student right now. I came home from college for quarantine and I'm looking for work. My job is to find my work, to find my job.

Q: How long have you been playin'?

A: I started playing basketball in middle school, probably 12 or 13. I played through high school, and then I've played pickup ever since.

Q: What do you get out of playing pick-up?

A: Oh, it's like a playground for all that competitive energy that gets repressed all throughout the day. You get to just get it out. It's so much fun.

Q: What's your favorite place to run?

A: Favorite place to play growing up was Memorial Park. It's a park on 14th and Olympic. And that's the home gym pretty much.

Q: Do much sh*t talking?

A: I mean, the best revenge is success, so the idea is to hit a three in someone's face, not talk about it, pretty much.

Q: Cash games?

A: Ooh, the money's using pride, but it's still valuable. It's still a valuable currency.

Q: Any memories of White Men Cant Jump?

A: Yeah, I liked the brutal reality of the ending and the love story that didn't last. I think it's more honest, so I appreciated, I forget her name, when she roller blades away and that's the end of it. That's really how it goes. So I liked how they went that route.

Cameron

Q: What do you do outside of hoop?

A: Well, I'm actually a recording artist, or aspiring. I grew up in Santa Monica. It's the place to be. It's why we're here, right?

Q: How long have you been playin'?

A: Well, I actually started playing basketball probably since I was about nine. So about 12 years now.

Q: What's your favorite place to run?

A: My favorite place to run is Reed Park between Lincoln Boulevard and Wilshire.

Q: What do you get out of playing pick-up?

A: Well, in a time like this, where we were locked up inside the house for a while, I mean, it's a breath of fresh air just to be able to interact with people, and pickup basketball is just a perfect game where, as men, we can let our emotions out, get everything. I don't know, I guess, the morality of just playing basketball with people you know is just amazing.

Q: Do much sh*t talking?

A: You know I’m kinda a shit-talker so in a game like this It’s so competitive and it’s about putting that ball in the hoop. So I just like to look at people and tell them, you can’t guard me. That’s what I like to do. you can’t guard, you just can’t guard.

Q: Cash games?

A: Oh, of course. That's what you do it for. You work out when you're a kid so when you guys are talking and going at it, you guys can say, "Hey, let's play for some money if you think you're better than me."

Counselor 

Q: What do you go by?

A: They call me Counselor.

Q: How long have you been playin?

A: I’ve been playing about 20 years.

Q: What's your favorite place to run?

A: Well, I like to play here, at Reed Park in Santa Monica.

Q: Do much sh*t talking?

A: Don’t need to talk trash, I’m a defensive player and my game speaks for itself.

Q: Cash games?

A: I wish, but no. I'm not in that league.

Yulong


Q: What do you do outside of hoop?

A: I am international college student from China.

Q: How long have you been playin?

A: I’ve been playing almost 10 years.

Q: What's your favorite place to run?

A: At gym, that's before the challenging times.

Q: Do much sh*t talking?

A: No, I don’t talk a lot of trash, I let my game talk for me