Who we are
There are 2 things things in life that have always remained a constant. Sports and Music. Some of my earliest memories are hearing songs I still love today on my parents record player as a kid. The Beatles, ABBA and The Muppets! were what I remember the most and whilst being somewhat eclectic I guess that is why now my musical tastes are so broad in genre. Sports were also a huge part of my childhood, Like most kids in England growing up, Football and Cricket are the 2 games i first fell in love with. One of my earliest memories of playing Sport is my Dad making me some Cricket pads made from cardboard and tying them to my leg with string for straps!
Music as it is for many people acted as a soundtrack for my life. I loved everything and still own my first record, a 12" copy of "BAD" by Michael Jackson. The first artists that truly gripped me were Michael Jackson and Prince and over the years these guys opened the doors to so much different music. In around 1990 I discovered Hip Hop and became obsessed with everything about it. LL Cool J, Public Enemy, Dr Dre, The Beastie Boys, Grandmaster Flash, I loved it. Never one to be pigeon holed where music was concerned I also loved Indie music, Classic Rock bands, Soul, Funk, Disco, and basically everything in between. Having bumbled my way through school with very little idea of what I wanted to do I eventually made a career out of music. I worked in one of the UK's most famous music stores A1 music and after many years of hard work opened my own store in my home town of Altrincham, South City Music. I played in bands and enjoyed success as Bass player in Juno Ashes and got to fulfil pretty much every goal I had aspired to as a player and more. I went on to become a touring crew member working as a Tour manager and Guitar Technician and got to visit place around the world I never dreamed of going to. I worked with people who had been my own musical heros and spent 5 wonderful years on the road working with artists such as Jah Wobble, Liam Gallagher and Bonehead of Oasis fame, Aziz Ibrahim, The Charlatans and many more.
Whilst music became my job, my other passion, Sport was always in the background. I discovered the game of Basketball in around 1988. I swam a few times a week for Stretford Swimming Club at the old leisure centre on Great Stone Road. Whilst my sister had her lesson and my parents patiently sat and watched from the seated area, I wondered to the Sports hall balcony and saw a Basketball team doing a practice session. The team was Manchester United, owned and funded by the world famous Football club just up the road. I was gripped immediately and watched in awe of these huge guys who moved so fast and despite their size were so graceful. But in 1992 the interest in the sport turned to obsession. The USA Dream Team took the Barcelona Olympics by storm and captured the imagination of an entire generation of thousands of kids in the UK. Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird et all literally in the 2 weeks of the game elevated the game of Basketball to a new level. No team or athletes had ever had that kind of impact on me and I knew that this was the game I wanted to play seriously. It became my life and I played anywhere I could, friends drives, the very few outdoor courts there were and and the club that I eventually played for Trafford based at Sale Leisure centre.
Apart from loving to play Basketball I also loved the culture around it. The fashion especially. I still own my first ever pair of Basketball shoes, the Air Jordan 7 Bordeaux and I remember the feeling I had when my Mum bought them for me. I wore those things all day everyday on and off court. I wanted to wear anything to do with Basketball and collected Hats and T Shirts. I spent a lot of time in the 90s in the States, mainly in Atlanta Georgia and whenever I was there id drive my cousins crazy getting them to drive me to every sports store possible to check out the latest gear that wasn't available in the UK. I would spend literally hours wondering around stores looking at Shoes, Jerseys, hats and Trading Cards. Anything to do with the NBA became collectable!
Like many Basketball fans in the UK it was difficult to find anywhere that sold Hoops gear and a lot of the time it was only available via mail order. The British Basketball Community was relatively small but growing fast. I started going to watch my home team the Manchester Giants every weekend in around 1993 and to this day still do. Having retired from the music industry I decided that I would revisit the game of Basketball after a 15 year hiatus. The game has changed so much in that time as had the styles and cultures around it. Its similar but compared to where the sport was in the 90s it has had quite a fall from grace as a spectator sport despite it being the 2 most participated sport for kids in the UK.