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STREETBALL [HOME] July 30, 2003

John Strickland Interview




John Strickland is one of the most known players around the New York City streetball scene. During the year he plays pro basketball overseas, but once the summer comes, Strickland is everywhere in the NYC that there is to be. "The Franchise" and "Baby Panda" are two of the nicknames applied to Strickland over the years at the EBC in Rucker Park and elsewhere. Tonight, and Strickland interviewed before the start of the Nike Battlegrounds NYC finals. John was one of eight finalists for the region. Summarize what you've been up to. You've been everywhere, briefly in the NBA and all around the world.

John Strickland: Yeah, I've been with the Knicks for a little while, then I've been in camp with Miami, and so on. Ever since that I've just been over in Europe playing ball. Italy, France, over in Venezuela and things like that, Puerto Rico. Just having a good time. I just came back from PR (Puerto Rico) then DR (Dominican Republic), then coming out here to play in this. And how long have you been bouncing around for?

John Strickland: For eight years, professionally. What's been your favorite place anywhere overseas?

John Strickland: Definitely, in Europe it's been Italy, and over in South America it's definitely been the Dominican Republic. What was great about Italy for you in particular?

John Strickland: The food is beautiful. And then just the different climate and everything like that. And how about down in South America?

John Strickland: In South America, the women. In the John Strickland women ranking system, what country down there has the best women?

John Strickland: I will go overall, Dominican Republic. The women there are kind enough to wear extremely little clothing.

John Strickland: Exactly. Nothing. Basically, nothing. OK, interview over. Time to head down there.

John Strickland: Hah. So that's what's up with you during the year. As for summers, you're in almost every NYC streetball event and league, almost every summer. What's up this summer?

John Strickland: This summer I've been playing in the Rucker with Jay-Z and the Flavor Unit, and my boy Juan, he coaches the team. So I've been playing with that team up in the Rucker, and in West 4th (a famous court in downtown Manhattan) I play with United Brooklyn, Syd Jones, and that's really been it. How do you compare the style of ball at Rucker vs. West 4th. For starters, West 4th is way more crowded...

John Strickland: Up in the Rucker, it all depends who you're playing. You could get... In 40 minutes you'll probably get 10 to 15 minutes of real basketball, and the other things are a little show. It all depends who you're playing. If you're playing some good team, you can get a whole good game of minutes. Then West 4th, it's a small cage, so you just get what you can out of it. At West 4th there's no room and no time to mess around.

John Strickland: Exactly. It's more business. And as for tonight's event, Nike Battlegrounds, it's one-on-one and totally different from your usual competition...

John Strickland: You're out there with no teammates to help you, out there by yourself, so it's just about you and the opponent. You're a post-up guy. That's how you win.

John Strickland: My post-up abilities and my dribbling abilities, just trying to get to the basket. You got some other guys like Speedy Williams who use quickness, so it's about how you use your advantages. So the strategy is probably simple for you. I assume you'd rather give up outside open shots to the quick guys than let them get past you.

John Strickland: Yeah, exactly. You want the little guy to shoot the jumper, beat you with the jumper. That's an old motto of mine, you live by it and you die by the jumper. If he's hot, and he hits the three and he wins, God bless him, but if he don't, you try to punish him down low and get the easy two. Thanks John.

John Strickland fell short of his goal to win the New York City Battlegrounds championship and represent the area in the national finals. There's always next year...

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