High Octane – And1 Interview
Recently, HoopsVibe caught up with High Octane during the Miami leg of the And 1 Mixtape Tour 2005.
Click here to listen to the MP3 of High Octane’s interview.
C.Y. Ellis: What would you say has been the best moment in your career as a streetball player so far?
High Octane: Best moment of my streetball career? (Baby Shaq calls out, High Octane laughs.) Probably me just getting signed and being down with these guys in 2001, so I’d say 2001.
CYE: What would you say is the nicest play you’ve pulled off in your career?
High Octane: Best play of my career? Shooting my own shot and following it with a dunk.
CYE: When did you first get your nickname, and how?
High Octane: I first got my nickname in Rucker Park in, like, ’98. They called me High Octane, the guy that do the mic at Rucker Park, so he gave me my name.
CYE: So how are things on the bus? Who’s the funniest guy on tour?
High Octane: Funniest guy on tour? Between A.O. and – who else is funny? (laughs) – a couple guys. Shaq, Go Get It, most of these dudes is clowns, man.
CYE: Anybody got any annoying habits on the bus? Anybody piss you off from day to day?
High Octane: Annoying habits? None (laughs).
CYE: They said A.O. sleeps on the bus.
High Octane: No, he don’t sleep.
CYE: Doesn’t he?
High Octane: No!
CYE: Maybe I misheard. (I checked the tapes, and I had misheard – CYE.)
High Octane: His annoying habit is he plays pranks too much. Too many pranks, you know, too many pranks.
[Baby Shaq interjects: Gotta take his little bad ass to sleep. (High Octane laughs.)]
CYE: What music are you playing in your C.D. player right now?
High Octane: In my C.D. player right now, I got a mixtape in there.
(Baby Shaq: Stealing all my music!)
High Octane: I got mixtapes in there! D.J. Whoo Kid – you know what I’m sayin’? – D.J. mixtapes from New York, nothing but mixtapes, I got a compilation of songs in there.
CYE: You’re about to play two-on-two and you can pick any player, living or dead, to play with you. Who are you gonna take?
High Octane: Two-on-two, living or dead…I’d probably pick Magic. I wear thirty-two because of Magic Johnson.
CYE: Big point guards, man, they get in the lane and they’re unstoppable.
High Octane: Yeah.
CYE: So you’re a Penny Hardaway fan, too.
High Octane: Oh, hell yeah, of course. Another…the second coming of Magic.
CYE: What goals do you have for your life outside of basketball?
High Octane: Outside of basketball…sort of being successful in everything I do, man. As far as being outside of basketball, being successful in everything I do, and keep my family tight.
CYE: When did you first realise that you were famous?
High Octane (laughing): Man, probably, like, on tour. I was on tour, and I’m at somewhere in Seattle, and somebody says they know me, like, “Hey, that’s Octane” and I’m not even on the court, just walking anywhere.
CYE: I tell you, if you come down my neighbourhood in England, you’ll get kids coming up to you at the street courts that don’t even play basketball.
High Octane: Yeah.
CYE: It’s nuts.
High Octane: It’s ridiculous, man, ridiculous. That’s probably when I knew I was kind of famous. Not even famous, just kind of famous.
CYE: Nah, man, you’re big time over there.
High Octane (laughing): We’re big time over there?
CYE: Streetball’s a much bigger thing abroad. We would have filled this arena three times over. Do you have any pre-game rituals or superstitions?
High Octane: I gotta wear a headband. I don’t know why, but I always gotta wear a headband when I play. I just feel comfortable.
CYE: Was there any particular moment when you decided you were gonna go for streetball rather than just regular basketball?
High Octane: That I was gonna go for streetball rather than just regular basketball? Actually, I’ve been playin’ streetball mostly all my life anyway. I grew up in a city, playing in the parks, playing in the tournaments in the summertime around the city. Summertime is the best time for basketball in New York city. Yeah, there’s, like, a thousand tournaments. I’ve been playing since I was at least fifteen, fourteen years old, so I always loved street basketball first, that was my first love. Then came organised ball, like college ball, stuff like that, but I always had love for the streets first.
CYE: A lot of people say that streetball is harming regular basketball because it’s teaching kids poor habits and taking them away from the fundamentals.
High Octane: That’s a good point, but as far as I did – actually, as far as anybody here – they played organised ball at one time or another first. As far as high school, college, AAU, whatever, we played organised ball. We had the fundamentals first, then we went out and started coming with the head moves and stuff like that, so fundamentals definitely came first.
CYE: What’s your favourite court to play on? What’s your favourite city on the tour?
High Octane: My favourite city on the tour might be…as far as to play or just to chill?
CYE: Anywhere where you like to be.
High Octane: A bunch of cities, like Detroit, Cali…
CYE: Nice weather.
High Octane: Yeah. I like the warm weather. I’m from New York, and it’s too cold, so I like all the south and the west. I like hot weather. A hot weather climate and I’m good (laughs).
CYE: Same here, man. I was born in Greece, and I came to Miami because it’s too damn cold in England.
High Octane (laughing): Anything warm, I’m for it.
CYE: Do you have any tattoos?
High Octane: Nah, not yet, but I’m about to get – I just had a baby boy – so I’m about to get my son’s name on my shoulder.
CYE: That’s cool. Finally, do you have any shout-outs, anything you want to say to anybody?
High Octane: You know what, man, just tell the kids out there, young kids coming up, that you can do anything you want to do if you put your mind to it.
CYE: Thanks a lot, man.
High Octane: You’re welcome.