8/26/10 A Reflection from G.

August 26 ,2010

“Well when the schools let out and the shifts are done get the boys together, get a ball and a run” Yeah yeah yeah – they playing BASKETBALL-

What’s up yall!! I found myself tonight playing on stage in Orlando, the same stage that the Orlando Magic and Dwight Howard rule all year long.
The last time I saw the Magic was at the Boston Garden for game seven in the 2009 Eastern Conference finals. What a game. Dwight and them ruined Boston’s hopes that year…
Rewind back to the 1980s and you might find a young G, that would be me, Garrett Dutton headed off on a Saturday morning to Old Pine Community Center on 4th and Lombard in Philly for my basketball league. That league shaped my hopes and dreams for a good 5 years. From age 8-14 I was there every Saturday. One year we won the championship and I had 39 points. Another year my Dad was the coach and we called our squad the Cavaliers. Basketball was good to me in every way and not just on the court.

Philly was a pretty rough town and all the neighborhoods were all smushed together. So even though I grew up in a “good” neighborhood, the “bad” neighborhood was just 5 blocks away. Well, we all know what that type of narrow thinking means…fact is that there were all different kids from all walks of life coming together to play B Ball. I learned about Basketball sure enough. I learned about hip-hop too. I remember one of my friends put his headphones on my ears. This crazy sound was blaring. It was the Beastie Boys, “Hold it now”. My friend goes, “those are white dudes rapping”, I was like, “no its not”. I never woulda thought I’d be doing the same shit man…

Anyways, after playing in that league you would be much safer walking around the streets. After all, you played at Old Pine, all the kids did. That B-ball connection saved my ass too many times. The Basketball Culture of Philadelphia is thick. We boast some serious runs all over town. Two of the most famous courts were blocks from my home–Star Garden and Seger Park. Trust me, those were some serious runs.

Any day when there was a little warmth in the winter, or sweltering heat in the summertime sun, you know, when the blacktop is melting and your water ice goes quick, you would find those courts jamming. The runs were serious. I mean, there were some serious ballers, and trashtalkers out there. If you were going to step onto that court, whooeeee you better bring your A game son! That was the vibe, it was such a colorful scene. I remember the nicknames, Gee Gee, O, Champ, yeah that’s right- they called me Larry Bird! True I was a white boy that could shoot!

I wrote my song “Shooting Hoops” about those courts. Man, that was my first hit. I played it every open mic night I stepped to. Eventually, I had to choose between two loves Basketball and music. Music won out and that’s a good thing because I got some game but I ain’t no Lebron James and all. It happened over Christmas break in my sophomore year of highschool. Coach called a practice but I didn’t go. I stayed home and made a demo of a new song for a contest in the local city paper. Well, Coach wasn’t having that and sure enough, he didn’t start me the rest of the season. I was the leading scorer too. Next year I grew my hair long and channeled Bob Dylan and John Hammond. I came back to play senior year but I just didn’t have the same feel for the game. I had the feel for music. But make no mistake hoops made me the musician I am today and if you think you got game well- I will meet you at Starr Garden for a run.
Who’s got next! G

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