“NYC has the grit and physicality, we have the style and flash, but both have skill and talent.”
August 1, 2008 – Dr. Anklesnap
Slam Magazine called him the King of Cali Streetball. And for real this dude has being doing it nationwide. The kid from California with the sickest handles has played on the And1 Tour, at the UCLA summer league, an All-star in the CBA, NBA Summer League, NCAA, and NBA D-League. He’s played professionally overseas where he earned MVP honors and was called by one of his nicknames “The Roadrunner”. As an LA Native this cat represents the style and flash of the show time Lakers in all aspects of his game. We are talkin’ about Jay ‘Real Game’ Boogie Brantley.
Jay was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to do this exclusive interview with The Hoop Doctors for our readers. Before reading the interview check out this little youtube clip on Jay Boogie to get an idea of this cat’s flava.
The Hoop Doctors (HD): Jay, you’ve played on the And1 Streetball Tour, in the CBA, Overseas, in the NBDL, and in your own streetball tour The Hooptainers. All types of basketball are considered entertainment to the die hard fans, but why do you think Streetball in particular has grown so much in popularity over the last 5-10 years?
Jay ‘Boogie’ Brantley (JBB): I think streetball has grown in the last 5-10yrs in popularity because of the media attention globally its getting. Playground legends and their tales of heroic dominance have been around for years, but now with the media involved with streetball and the exposure of its players the whole world is taking a liking to this fast pace freestyle game that is played in the playgrounds, parks and gyms throughout America and now the entire world.
(HD): We have heard various nicknames for you, anything from The Roadrunner to King of Cali Streetball (Slam Magazine) but mainly people call you either “Boogie” or “Real Game”. What is the story behind those, and which do you prefer?
(JBB): ‘The Roadrunner’ was given to me in high school because I was a fast skinny kid that looked like him and no one could catch me on the court. ‘King of Cali’ was given to me because of the fact that I’ve become the most influential playground legend in Cali, but not because I’m the best on the court, but because I’ve done just as much or more off it. ‘Boogie’ and ‘Real Game’ is what I prefer to be called as I’m a real ball player with flash and a little boogie in my game. That’s important to be a true playground legend, u have to have both. You don’t cheat the game by just being a side show act.
(HD): So when it comes to streetball if New York is “The Mecca” what tag would you put on Cali right now? And in your opinion how does Cali streetball stack up to NYC these days?
(JBB): Cali is coming up, for real. New York streetball history started way back in the 40’s and ours in the 70’s, so I would say that we are in second right now but coming up strong. These days I think Cali is doing very well. NYC has the grit and physicality, we have the style and flash, but both have skill and talent. So I am gonna say we are about even now, depending on your style preference.
(HD): Who were your basketball idols growing up? You must have had mad love for the Showtime Lakers….Magic?
(JBB): Yes Magic Johnson, and I love the Showtime Lakers, me and my team (LA Hooptainers) pattern our game and style from them. That’s purely west coast style basketball. But who I emulate my game personally from is Kenny Anderson and the Nate ‘The Skate’ Archibald. Two New York City legends.
(HD): What player was the earliest streetball influence on you that you can remember?
(JBB): There where two, my earliest was a streetball legend in LA named Raymond Lewis out of South Central. My Uncles and other old school cats use to tell me of how he use to destroy cats throughout the city and about his range on his jumper being from as soon as he stepped over half court. He use to play with his opponents with the ball, daring them to take it by dribbling high right in front of there face. Many had said he was the best they had ever seen pro in whatever league.
The second was Rafer ‘skip to my lou’ Alston. He put modern day streetball on the map. It was the first time you were able to see a player doing his thing out in NY and not be there. Everyone was talking about the 1st mix tape.
(HD): Did you always work hard on your streetball game, or did that not come until after you were winding down your conventional hoops career?
(JBB): My fundamental game is intertwining with my playground game it always has been. Every since I was a little kid not being the tallest cat on the court I had to do some things that made me stand out on the court, so I developed a game that was flashy with style but since I was a competitor and all about winning I didn’t compensate that, and that is what the new future generation needs to understand. Winning comes first, and style comes a distant second. Being a legend is not easy; few have done it to combine both. That’s me, Hooptainers style basketball.
(HD): You played for the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels and had some nice numbers (10pts, 6 assists, 2.4 steals). You played well enough to get looks from the NBA scouts; do you think NBA franchises passed on you because of your height?
(JBB): Yes I do, and I was in a system that didn’t allow me to really showcase all of my skills on the court like I do on the playground or in the local gyms.
(HD): The Hooptainers tour is comprised of streetball legends and celebrities that combine hip-hop and basketball. The tour is kind of like a modern day Harlem Globetrotters as far as entertainment. So where can streetball fans get updates on the events and where do you boys take the tour?
(JBB): My friend Haneef owns his own basketball apparel company, Macleem Sports Wear, and through his site we keep all of our fans updated on everything we’re involved in. Our goal is to visit as many cities/towns/countries/continents as possible. There should never be a limit as to how far we want to push ourselves. We’ve gone to China, Brazil, Ukraine and a lot of the guys on the team have played professionally overseas. Basketball is a global sport and being online allows us to connect with fans in every corner of the world.
(HD): We have heard you are affiliated with the movie “Sweetwater” that is in production? Can you tell us a bit about the movie and your involvement?
(JBB): “Sweetwater” is movie that tells the story of Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton, the first black player to play in the NBA. The director, Martin Guigui, met with me a while ago and he told me about the Sweetwater project he was working on. Immediately I was interested in being a part of a historical project. He asked me to help be a basketball consultant and trainer for a lot of the actors. You would be surprised at how some of the actors can’t really ball. I am glad they got Wood Harris to play the role of Sweetwater, because he can actually ball.
(HD): Macleen Sports Wear from what we’ve seen and heard is basically gear for the diehard baller. We understand the company is based out of New York. Can you tell us how you linked up with them and what they are all about?
(JBB): It seems like I knew Haneef (owner of Macleem Sports Wear) since forever. We linked up back in early 2000. At that time he was doing online streetball news on a different website. He interviewed me for the site and we stayed in touch. I liked the positive vibe and his vision for the website. We began to talk business about being able to promote one another’s projects. He was able to get the word or email to a lot of online basketball communities about our events and in turn at games we would tell people to check out the website.
We decided to begin our clothing line after we were tired of using other sports company’s stuff. Haneef and I agreed that a lot the companies that are out now aren’t run by real ballers. Everything is corporate now. Look at And1, the players are from the blacktops but the guys signing the checks aren’t. We wanted to create a brand that is fully represented by and for REAL players.
(HD): What advice would you give the young ballers out there just tryin’ to come up in the game? Should they stick to the blacktop, hardwood, or just work on every possible aspect of their game?
(JBB): To be honest, every player has ask themselves where do they want to take their game to take them. Doing just tricks is nice for a youtube moment but it will not get you far in organized basketball. A lot of streetball players have difficulty turning that part of their game off. You can be entertaining and still play fundamentally sound basketball. You have to find that right blend. Sure we would all like to play in the pros but not making it does not mean you’ve failed. Take me for example, i didn’t get in the league but through my dedication and passion for the game i’ve been able to play against international teams, interacted with kids from towns that most of us couldn’t even spell correctly. My love for the game has given me numerous positive experiences.
At the same time, the game is not restricted to the court you play on, that is something that is born within each player. Blacktop, hardwood, rocks and dirt…it doesn’t matter. When we went to Brazil there were kids out there that loved the game just as much as we do and their rim was an old garbage can nailed to the crumbling brick wall.
(HD): You’ve played with NBA Stars like Paul Pierce, Baron Davis, Jason Richardson, Shawn Marion, Sam Cassell, Derek Fisher etc. Of those players, who’s skills would give them the easiest transition to the streets? In other words who would be the most entertaining streetball player, and who would be the hardest to stop on the blacktop?
(JBB): Baron Davis. Hands down B-diddy can ball. He’s got the size and strength will give a lot of guards out there problems…and the stop & go is ridiculous!
(HD): Aight Jay, we wanna thank you big for taking time out of your busy schedule with your tour to speak with us. It means a lot especially since you basically just rolled in from a gig in the Ukraine less than 2 days ago! Much love and we wish you all the best. You are a very real and down to earth guy man. Keep it real.
(JBB): Anytime guys, keep doin’ your thing Hoop Doctors.
For those of you who are interested in The Hooptainers or the clothing line Macleem Sports Wear, here is where you can check them out:
Macleem Sports Wear: http://www.macleem.com/
The Hooptainers: http://www.hoop-stars.com/