When you see Grayson Boucher, who do you see? Some may see your average, ordinary white guy. But most who know of him know him as a streetball legend and one of the most entertaining players to ever touch a basketball. Here's my interview with streetball legend The Professor.
patton26: How did you get the nickname "The Professor"?
Professor: I actually got the nickname from Duke Tango, who was the announcer for our And 1 games and is now the announcer for Ball Up. He said I was schooling people on the court, hence the nickname "The Professor".
patton26: For the fans that don't know, how did you first get selected to be a part of the And 1/streetball family?
Professor: I was on the show that And 1 had during the summer of 2003 that was on ESPN when they were looking for the next playground legend. Basically, the show was like a Survivor type show where the winner won an And 1 contract. I survived each stop and made it all the way until the end, where I won the contract with And 1. And the rest is history.
patton26: When did you actually start playing basketball?
Professor: I actually started playing at 3 years old. My dad got me into the game.
patton26: Who were the athletes you looked up to growing up?
Professor: I looked up to players like Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, Jason "White Chocolate" Williams and the original Blazers like Clyde Drexler, Jerome Kersey, Terry Porter and Kevin Duckworth. But I didn't look up to one athlete in general.
patton26: What are you currently up to these days?
Professor: I just started the Ball Up Streetball Tour. Ball Up is the new face of streetball and can be seen on Fox Sports. A bunch of us from And 1 left and joined Ball Up. We have 10 games stateside and on June 15th we start the world tour. I also have a ball-handling camp called The Professor's Ball-Handling Academy. I've been to countries like Japan, Africa and South America as well as a few places in the United States. I'm working on doing some more camps in the United States.
patton26: What things are you doing to be a role model and give back to the community?
Professor: I do free clinics on ball-handling. I try to use the game to give back to the community by also visiting local recreation centers and giving motivational speeches to kids about staying in school and other issues kids may be confronted with growing up. I've been doing that since my And 1 days first started.
patton26: Do you keep up with the NBA?
Professor: Not that much, but I do watch the highlights on Sports Center.
patton26: Who's your favorite team in the NBA?
Professor: The Blazers. I grew up in Oregon, so I grew up watching them.
patton26: Any predictions on who will win the Eastern and Western Conference and who will be the champion this year in the NBA?
Professor: I don't know a whole bunch about what's going on in the teams like the Lakers, Spurs, Heat, Celtics are definitely in the mix. Its tough to say who the champion is going to be.
patton26: Who's your favorite player to watch at any level of basketball?
Professor: The crazy thing about me is that I actually don't watch basketball that much, but my favorite player to watch is Taurian "Air Up There" Fontenette. He is the best dunker that I've ever seen. Period.
patton26: What are some of the differences you see in playing streetball as opposed to so-called "traditional basketball"?
Professor: The differences I see are that streetball is more improvised, less-structured and is more fast-paced. Another difference is that in streetball, there are really only two positions: entertainer or dunker and we use our skills to wow the crowd and that's how we entertain. In the NBA, the focus is more on winning games and winning championships. Both games have a different focus but we have a common goal: entertainment.
patton26: If could give any advice to anyone coming up in today's world, what would you tell them?
Professor: I would tell them to stay focused on what's important in life.
After doing this interview, I learned that The Professor is more than just a streetball legend. He's a man on a mission to make his mark on the world off the court as well as on the court.