Converse Band of Ballers
Wednesday, August 12
Yesterday’s Converse Band of Ballers was as much of a shit-talking contest as it was a three-on-three tournament. The invite-only event went down at the Church gym in SoHo to a crowd of no more than 200 team friends and affiliates, contest winners, and an overwhelming number of Converse staff members. The All-Star team coaches were Jim Jones (The Jones Family), Asher Roth (The Roth Boys), Diplo (Mad Decent), A-Trak (Fool’s Gold), Matt and Kim (The Brooklyn Crew) and Pac Div (… Pac Div). DJ Cipha Sounds was behind the turntables; Hot 97’s Miss Info and Peter Rosenberg were on the lighthearted banter. With the exception of Mad Decent’s rebellious POPO bros, who both wore neon-print shorts, the teams were, of course, decked head-to-toe in Converse gear–by the number of video cameras on the court, we’re sure the game will become an ad campaign for the sponsors. As for the winners, they would go home with bragging rights, a new pair of sneakers and a golden (definitely spray-painted gold) trophy.
Mad Decent vs. Fool’s Gold kicked off the tournament – the two teams fanbases (made up mostly of fellow DJs/producers) were so intermingled that it wasn’t obvious which team had the most support in the stands. The game made for a surprising start to the tourney, as Fool’s Gold crushed Mad Decent’s team of giants–POPO bros, Sean Agnew, and another tall, unidentified male (no really, not even the Mad Decent crew knew his name)–who Miss Info jokingly dubbed them “the team with a lot of hair.” While Mad Decent’s strategy relied on height, Fool’s Gold, the majority of the roster no taller than 5’11, won with their basketball fandom: Kidz in the Hall/Donnis manager (and former D1 college-ball player) Dan Solomito and DJ JayCeeOh dominated the court with commendable support by Fool’s Gold co-founder Nick Catchdubs. Meanwhile, Coach A-Trak remained on the sidelines in a suit, mostly sitting and doodling (as put on blast by Rosenberg), and making jabs on Twitter.
The Brooklyn Crew, helmed by Matt & Kim and their irrepressible home-borough pride, won for “team spirit” with a roster of Ninjasonik, Jahphet from the Death Set, and close friends (and key players) Tao and Jedi. The energy from the Brooklyn Crew’s aggressive (and we suspect, inebriated) group of fans was contagious: Ninjasonik rapper, Telli Gramz, led chants of “Ninja-fucking-sonik!”; provoking the T-shirt-and-towel-waving response from the stands, “We are sonic fucking ninjas!” Kim Schifino, of Matt and Kim, was the only female to suit up from any team, and served as the Brooklyn Crew team mascot, distracting the Jones Family with her sassy booty bouncing and daily-squat-routine demonstration, with the help of Converse-provided team cheerleader (and the bench-splits girl for Drake’s “Best I Ever Had” video), Rosa Acosta.
Jim Jones was as entertaining as we expected. As player-coach of the Jones Family, a team made up of his cousins, he rolled into the court shirtless on a skateboard “to intimidate the hipsters,” he said. Miss Info, rather cannily, asked if going head-to-head with Fool’s Gold’s A-Trak would squash his long-running beef with Kanye–he didn’t answer. Not surprisingly, his team went undefeated as Jones stormed up and down the court yelling at the ref and furiously egging on his cousins. To be fair, he had $10k riding on the event. Thankfully, for him, The Jones Family took home the trophy.
As for Asher Roth, the only remarkable thing about his Roth Boys was that it took some investigation to figure out which one was him–they all looked the same. The team won one game, as Asher, who it was noted “is very white,” sat watching from the bench.
Trash-talking and video girls aside, the event may have sparked a new collaboration. Cipha Sounds played Pac Div’s self-titled track after a basket by the west-coast rap group (who recently went on tour with Asher Roth), inspiring Jim Jones to get on the mic. “I wanna do an East Coast remix of that–I like that swagger,” he said, later adding, “I heard a knocking beat and some fly rhymes. I wanna remix that!” So, there’s that.