Alimoe (aka Black Widow) Interview
Alimoe, also known as the Black Widow, is one of the most famous street basketball players around. He gained fame unleashing flashy yet effective moves at Rucker Park, and is now a member of the traveling And 1 streetball mixtape tour. InsideHoops.com editor Jeff Lenchiner exclusively met with Alimoe towards the end of the 2003 tour and interviewed him about making a career out of playing basketball.
InsideHoops.com: Talk about playing high school basketball, yet getting paid to play ball as well.
Black Widow: Well, I wouldn't say that's a good thing to get paid when you're playing high school basketball. To get paid by somebody that pay you to play. Because it sets your mind the wrong way. But, fortunately, I got through it. I played high school ball, but I was also able to have a flashy enough game to play uptown in the Entertainer's Basketball Classic, where they would pay me. But that made me not want to go to school, because I had the fame and I had the money and I had everybody calling my name. So that led me not to going to Fresno State. So that wasn't so much of a good thing. But, I was lucky enough that I didn't have to get a job, because I could play ball. And in Harlem, in New York, it's big. If you can play ball, they'll take care of you. It's like, in the streets, the guy with the most money got to have the best basketball players. Just like George Steinbrenner, just like basketball. The team with the most money will have the most dominating players. It's the same way in the streets. It's the same way.
InsideHoops.com: That happened to you at a young age, getting that kind of attention out there in the park.
Black Widow: Most high school players ain't as flashy as I was. And if you got something you can do real good better than anybody else, the streets, the playground will love you for that.
InsideHoops.com: So what was up in college, what was going through your head at the time as far as possibly making a career out of basketball goes?
Black Widow: I wasn't thinking about it. I was just thinking about the time. Right now. I just wanted to go back home and play in EBC. I wasn't worried about college, because college slowed my game down. You had to run an offense, you had to play defense, I was waiting to get back home to play uptown so I could play freely.
InsideHoops.com: So, that minute. That day. That week, not that lifetime or that career.
Black Widow: Yeah, yeah, just that minute and that time. Whatever was going on in those two weeks or whatever, that's where my mind was at.
InsideHoops.com: How long were you in college for?
Black Widow: I was in college for actually... I went to junior college for two years, and I went to a university for two years.
InsideHoops.com: Which schools?
Black Widow: Cal State Bakersfield was the university, and I went to Sullivan County Community College, a junior college.
InsideHoops.com: And after you were out of college what were you trying to do, and what happened?
Black Widow: I started trying to look for jobs paying players to play basketball, and I couldn't find it. Only the street would pay me. So I couldn't find no legit professional team to pay me. So I kept working out, working out, and then I got in touch with And 1, and And 1 scooped me off my feet. Now they put me out there the way I can go get a job and play somewhere now, because I got somebody behind me.
InsideHoops.com: What about playing in Europe, what's the interest, and are you going after it?
Black Widow: I have a chance to go to Europe now, actually with the And 1 team, and I got a guy that's been working with me, he says he has a guy in Sweden that's willing to give me a contract to play. I guess he saw the tapes, and realized that I can speak. And play basketball.
InsideHoops.com: Of all your favorite moments playing basketball, what memory tops everything for you?
Black Widow: It was actually during the tour, going to Seattle. Flying to Seattle and then the tv show coming out. That was the biggest thing. Me sitting in my house watching myself on tv. Like it just happened overnight. Because I always dreamed about it. Now I got a tape out, I got Volume 6 coming out, and I'm like man, dreams do come true.
InsideHoops.com: So at EBC, different players get paid different amounts.
Black Widow: Yeah, always. That's everywhere. Everywhere you go, different players get paid different amounts. Certain players can do more than others.
InsideHoops.com: It still goes on today, it isn't going away.
Black Widow: Still goes on today. Even in a regular game around my block, if I'm playing and this other dude's playing, they're gonna pay me more because I bring more to the table. It's just like in regular business.
InsideHoops.com: In the old days you heard about that a lot, guys getting paid so much out on the street that in some cases going pro didn't even always make sense to them. That doesn't happen like that anymore.
Black Widow: Yeah, exactly. There was a lot of legendary stories. There still is today; I don't think it's as many as it was back then, I don't think so.
InsideHoops.com: So, again, after this, you're getting a new job, hopefully.
Black Widow: I'm going to go on tour again, we're going to go overseas. And then from overseas I'm looking to get a job over there. I got calls from people in the CBA and everything, so, it's helped me out a lot.