Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Skip "And 1" Highlights

Rafer Jamel Alston, a.k.a. Skip To My Lou or Skip 2 My Lou (born July 24, 1976 in Queens, New York City), is an American professional basketball player currently with the NBA's Orlando Magic.

Streetball Legend
Alston grew up in Jamaica, Queens as a street basketball legend and has received most of his recognition for that aspect of his career. In high school at Cardozo he played in only 10 Games his last two years but managed to score 319 points. He first came into the public spotlight for his starring in the And1 Mixtape Volume 1. In this mixtape, it had him performing his legendary dribbling moves on future NBA star Stephon Marbury. Prior to playing for Fresno State, Alston was regarded by many as the greatest streetball player ever. Alston was drafted after his junior year by the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round, 39th pick overall, of the 1998 NBA Draft.

His nickname, Skip To My Lou, stemmed from his tendency to skip while dribbling the ball upcourt. He played in several prominent streetball tournaments including the Entertainer's Basketball Classic, the North American Street Basketball Tour, the AND1 Mixtape Tour, and the ESPN TV show, Street Ball. It is said that, during a streetball tournament at the legendary Rucker Park in Harlem, Alston once performed what most would regard as an impossible move: during a fastbreak, he supposedly glided in the paint for a layup attempt but made a change of plans in the air as he rolled the ball down his right arm, across his shoulder and down his left arm to a trailing player for a finishing dunk. Alston currently serves as the spokesperson for the Houston Rockets Blacktop Battle -- an annual 3-on-3 streetball tournament held in Houston.

NBA Career
Despite his cult-following from the streetball circuit, Alston decided to make the transition to the professional game. After sitting on the bench for most of the time on a talented Milwaukee Bucks squad, he emerged as a starter for the Miami Heat in 2004. He did not disappoint, averaging 12 points and 4 assists while catapulting a young Miami team to the playoffs. During that season, on a March 26th game against the Dallas Mavericks, he hit a game winning shot in overtime with 0.5 seconds left over the outstretched arms of Shawn Bradley to catapult Miami to a 119-118 victory. He signed with the Toronto Raptors during the summer of 2004.

Following a recent tumultuous tenure with the Toronto Raptors, Alston was traded to the Houston Rockets for guard Mike James on October 4, 2005. Although Alston frequently was criticized for his attitude while in Toronto, it is believed that Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy conferred with his brother, Miami Heat coach Stan Van Gundy, who coached Alston during the 2003-2004 NBA season, about Alston's work ethic and attitude. Jeff Van Gundy's reputation for toughness and his ability to get the most out of players previously considered "trouble-makers" or "temperamental" (e.g., Latrell Sprewell) has led to optimism on the part of the Rockets' staff. In 2006-07, as the team's starting point guard, Alston thrived in most things but shooting, averaging 13.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 1.6 steals. He ranked in the top ten in the NBA in steals and three-pointers made, and is in the top 20 in assists. In '09 Alston was traded to the Orlando Magic to replace the injured pg Jameer Nelson. While In Orlando Alston helped lead the Magic to the '09 Nba Finals

Alston was arrested in 1998 for violation of parole. Alston had pled no contest in 1997 to assaulting his former girlfriend and was required to complete a one-year anger-management course as part of his probation. Alston failed to complete the course and an arrest warrant was issued. Alston was released and completed his sentence.

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