Any scientist worth his salt will tell you that rubber does not react with wood. Leave the two in a test tube and years will pass without change to either substance. Heat gently, add water and shake, and the effect will be no more exciting than a WNBA preseason game. It is simply accepted as fact that the materials have no effect on one another.
Myree Bowden, however, cares little for the laws of nature. Gravity, for example.
You see, the second the sole of his shoe meets the surface of the court, the fuse is lit. Here, contact between rubber and wood causes a detonation, the impact of which leaves defenders reeling, fans gasping for breath, and Reemix some four feet in the air.
“Explosive” is a word often used arbitrarily to describe dunkers, but with Myree it truly fits. Where Vince Carter makes a boing, he makes a boom. Other leapers glide gracefully through the sky, riding an invisible wave to smoothly deposit the ball in the bucket. Reemix, conversely, appears to have been fired from a cannon as he leaves the floor, violently throwing it down and manhandling the rim before falling back to earth.
True to the name, Reemix switches things up when away from the game. Speaking during the interview, he has a calm, composed manner, taking care to say exactly what he means. The on-court spontaneity is replaced by a thoughtfulness not often seen in professional athletes, let alone one only a few years removed from university. He displays an understated intelligence and capacity for insight that contrasts with the in-your-face style of his above-the-rim antics.
We recently caught up with the man himself for an exclusive interview. Read on below for Reemix’s words on 757’s departure, the new dunk that’ll blow your mind, and the program that could have you jumping like him.
C.Y. Ellis: Let’s start with your college career. You had some bad luck when you sustained an injury to your foot. How do you think things would have turned out if you’d been healthy for your senior season?
Reemix: I would say that if I hadn’t injured my foot, well, it was a blowout season the season before; I was leading the team in scoring. So I know that if my senior year had been a blowout season, I would have had more chances at being looked at by the league.
Did you want to go pro straight out of college then?
Yeah, it was my intention to play professionally straight out of college. Unfortunately, I didn’t play enough. I didn’t put up enough numbers to get them to recognize.
The first time most fans saw you was when you competed in the 2004 NCAA dunk contest. How was it to suddenly be known all over the world?
I always knew that I would get some international recognition as well as national. It just felt real good to know that even through my trials and tribulations I was able to find a way to get nationally and internationally known.
A lot of people felt you were robbed when they gave the win to Andre Emmett. What are your thoughts on that?
It doesn’t take much for a 6’5’’ guy to jump over three or four kids (laughing). I’d rather be a person that didn’t win but everybody knows should have won than be the person who won and have everybody tell them that they robbed the person who didn’t win.
At what age did you first dunk the ball?
I was thirteen years old, and I think it was a junior high All-Star game. The ball came off the rim, and usually I’d jump up there just to grab the rim, but somehow the ball reached my hand and I ended up putting it down, so after that it became addictive.
How tall were you then?
I was 5’8’’.
And, just for the record, what’s your official vertical leap now?
My vertical leap now is forty-seven and a half inches.
Some people forget that you have other talents on the court besides dunking. For example, you won the best defensive player award at Arizona Western. Do you feel that your reputation as a dunker sometimes overshadows your game as a whole?
I would say that dunking pretty much gets most of the recognition, and then that opens up the door so that I can go ahead and express the rest of my talents.
You were also involved in a tour with the Globetrotters recently. How did that come about?
They’d seen me in the dunk contest, and that opened a lot of doors. They contacted me afterwards and said I had a lot of character and might have what it takes to come and be a part of the organization. So I went out there and just tried to make the team, made the team, stayed all tour and pretty much made it there for myself with the Harlem Globetrotters.
How does touring with those guys differ from touring with the YPA?
It’s all the years behind them. It’s about experience. I mean, YPA is on the right track and getting there and it just has to get some experience. But there’s not much difference, just experience and getting organized.
What’s the story behind your joining the YPA?
I was getting to the point where I was finished down in Stockton and one of the guys that was affiliated with YPA came in and was playing against me and I did my initial move, which was to throw it off the backboard over a defender, catch it and dunk on that guy. He just so happened to be that guy, so afterwards there were comments from all the other players and he came up to me to see if I was interested. I contacted them, and I went out and played, really showed out, and I think that pretty much landed the deal.
How do you feel it benefits you to be part of an organization like the YPA?
It benefits a lot. Not only is everybody YPA – it doesn’t really reject anybody, and that’s what basketball should be – but it gets me a lot recognition when I go out and perform. I think we work hand-in-hand in getting recognition and getting our names out there.
Talking of the YPA, we hear 757 is no longer with you. Can you tell us anything about his motives to leave?
I really kind of shy away from that topic. I really don’t know much of what was going on. I think that it’s all about a paper chase sometimes. If you chase the paper, you’ve got to go where the money’s at. Everybody needs money and everybody needs to make a living.
After the success of The War, expectations are high for the YPA. What’s your next major project and how are you going to exceed what you’ve done already?
The DVD, when that came out, that pretty much put YPA out there and the expectations did go up. We have an Asian tour coming up; it’s been postponed, but I think that’ll be the next major deal for YPA. That’ll also get us known internationally, known in China and Japan and all those marketing countries. If they know us out there, that’ll land a lot of fans.
You’ve had a lot of highlights in your career. What, in your opinion, is the greatest play you’ve ever pulled off?
I think the greatest thing I ever pulled off in any game was in a pickup game at this tournament down in Delano, California. Coming down the court, I threw the ball off the backboard, which I normally do, and there were two guys under this time, but instead of dunking on them, I cleared them, finished the dunk and got the foul, so it was a three-point play and a highlight.
Excluding yourself, who would you say is the best dunker on the streetball scene right now?
Excluding myself, I think the best dunker on the streetball scene – I just got to see him in City Slam – is High Riser from Atlanta. He’s nice; I like his game. I like how high he gets up. And also Helicopter; he impresses me by being able to do some of the things that he does in a game situation.
Do you think you have a chance of beating the sixty-six inches High Riser managed?
Yeah. Before the City Slam dunk contest, I did a whole week of camps, so my legs were shot, so I didn’t have time to work out on it. But I feel that if I had worked out on it, it would have been a wrap.
Who’s your all-time favourite dunker?
My all-time favourite dunker has got to go to Dominique Wilkins, man. Some of the things he does…his movements are so explosive. He’s The Human Highlight, the best dunker out there.
Tell us about some of your basketball heroes and how those guys influenced your game.
I don’t really have any well-known heroes. I had two older cousins, Edward and Kerry, and they pretty much played ball and took me wherever they went, showed me the game. Also, I had my older sister; she was the domestic champion and we would go at it all the time, and she created that instinct that I possess now.
We’ve all seen that you have a number of dunks in your arsenal. Are there any new ones you’ve added to your repertoire?
Yeah, I actually just started putting down the three-sixty under-the-legs, which is pretty much impossible to the ordinary dunker. I don’t think there’s too much more you can do after that, but that’s my initial dunk now. I’m just working on it to perfect it so that I can pull it out in a game.
What are your professional goals? Do you have your eyes on a European contract?
Yeah, I’m looking into a European contract. It’s something I want to do, and it’s a matter of meeting the right people and talking to the right people. But I also have dreams and aspirations to go to the NBA. Injuries made me take the long route, but I’m still working towards that.
Do you feel it’s harder to get signed when you have a reputation as a streetball player?
Yeah, it is. Streetball is pretty much the total opposite of NBA basketball. It’s harder when you’re a street player, but Skip To My Lou is a living example of streetball gone pro. You can do both, and it benefits you in both areas. If you’re a streetball player and you play NBA ball, you’ll know the tricks of the trade, how to get past a defender, how to manoeuvre. Streetball players know how to play NBA, the fundamentals, and you know how to play the street game.
Which areas of your game are you looking to improve to increase your chances of getting a contract somewhere?
One area of my game would have to be my shooting. I’ve been working on that for a while, and it has been improving. If you can shoot, you have a real good chance of getting picked up because everybody’s looking for a good shooter, especially if you have a shooter that’s also athletic and will dunk on you; that’s the whole package.
What’s the best part of being a streetball player?
The best part of the job is seeing kids try to imitate your moves. Being able to work with kids that come and watch and just inspiring kids, letting them know that even if you’re not good enough, even if you don’t make the league, that there’s still basketball out there, and just to have fun and improve every day. It’s the inspiration that I bring to the kids that’s the best part of my job.
When did you first realise that people everywhere knew about “The Reemix”?
“The Reemix” came from my college days when we used to go and rap in the studio and I used to come in and try to remix everything. But after that the name stuck with me, and I first realised people knew when I was at the park and nobody knew my real name and they just kept calling me “The Reemix”. The name exploded after the NCAA dunk contest.
What are your aims for your life outside of basketball?
What I want to do is go out there and inspire and mentor players that don’t exactly know what to do in order to get yourself eligible for a college scholarship or make yourself eligible for a pro contract, to let them in on the secrets, let them in on what they need to do in order to put themselves at that level. Also, I have a couple of deals coming out. I have a vertical leap program that I’m trying to finish up and trying to get that out on the market. I also have my B.A. in broadcast communications, and I want to be a sports commentator. I want to get out there with some ESPN gigs or anything to do with sports to help the kids.
Finally, do you have any messages or shout-outs?
Yeah, I got messages, man, but I’m just going to narrow it down. Look out on the market for my vertical leap program, Explosive Reaction; it’s what I used coming up in high school and college to build my vertical leap. Also, I just want to let everybody else out there know that with basketball, you have to love the sport before you can get good at it. If you’re not out there having fun, just go ahead and give it up (laughs).