They call him Maine. The kid from Harlem. He goes hard on the court. His game is like that. He makes it look effortless. Driving and slicing to the rim. The kid got moves. Did I say his game was like that? Well, I’ll say it again. The dude is for real. He got that New York handle – behind the back, through the legs, in traffic and all. Dude can ball. But let him tell it.
“I really love the game,” Jermaine White says. “I’m from Harlem, 115th and 8th Avenue, born and raised. My weight is 190. I stand 6-foot-l. Strong as well as physical.”
And dude ain’t telling no lies. The 29-year-old knifes to the rim, through the hacks, through the dudes hanging on his back, through the dudes trying to stop him. He makes it look graceful but at the same time he has a soldier’s mentality. It’s not all games with Maine. He’s going for the jugular.
“A challenge is a must,” Maine says. “So mentally I want war, I go hard so you’ll come with your A-game. If not, I’ll expose you. Then it’s too late cause you’re trying to respond to an ongoing attack. Especially when you’ve tried everything and I still do me. You’re mentally finished, dead.”
The kid backs it up on the court. Dude is a soldier. On the court and in life. He’s doing 125 months in the feds. Maine was on some gangsta shit for real.
“I’m incarcerated for armed bank robbery. I came to the feds in 2001. I’ve been to two FCI’s so far (Schuylkill and Loretto),” Maine says.
And he was doing his thing in the street too.
“As far as that goes, I played for Brandeis High School (92-95) and streetball in hood tourneys like GOAT, King-dome, Ray Diaz, Youngworld, Dyckman, etcetera. Out of town tournaments too.”
Maine is no stranger to winning
“As for chips, high school and local and out of town tourneys… About 15 total. A couple of sportsmanship awards, MVP one year.”
The list of accolades goes on. Maine is an accomplished player. And he remembers the first time he balled in jail.
“The first time I played ball inside I was ready to fight. Fouls were crazy,” Maine says. “People try to scare you with them. Also it’s a way to get cheap shots cause niggas is really trying to feel you out. Playing in here is different cause it’s more so strength than finesse. To me, I’m trying to kill you, inside and out in the world. Also people stacking teams. I don’t care who I’m teamed with, I’m going to win.”
Dude backs this up. Ain’t no fronting going on, but Maine keeps it real too.
“Sometimes shit gets outta control,” Maine says. “When it does, you punish the person and things calm down. This is a mental sport so feelings will always play a part. Honestly, people know who to foul all crazy. I don’t worry because I’m respected. I have no problem taking my respect either.”
Because sometimes in the joint that is what it takes. But before prison Maine had hoop dreams.
“Growing up in New York it was my dream to play in the league,” he says. “But right after high school, I got hit by two cars and my dreams were shattered. Then going to the Island didn’t help either. I believe I could’ve played on the next level easily.”
Maine loves the league too.
“I love players I can relate too – Jason Kidd, Chauncey Billups, Carmelo Anthony, A.I. But I’m a true Knicks fan. I pattern my game after Chauncey and Kidd. I can play from the 1 to the 3. I prefer 2 or 3. I like to go to the hole whether it’s in transition or a set offense. I’m going to score or create.”
And the kid has flash too but he says, “Believe it or not, I don’t play for the crowds. I’m not flashy. Just your basic killer. That’s why it doesn’t seem like my numbers are up. You will only know at the end of the game, after I’ve won and killed you. I’d rather have my 5 and your 5 go. No crowds. Just us 10.”
With an assassin’s mindset, Maine wants the ball in crunch time.
“When the game is at the closing seconds, give it to me. I’m going to create a winning look at the rim,” he says. “I just want the best possible shot. From me or my teammate. I want the W.”
And basketball is a big part of Maine’s life.
“Growing up it was the major part. But now it’s a stress reliever. I can only watch it briefly cause I’ll want to play. I play with anybody, scrut and all. Since I’ve been in, I’ve played just about every season as well as tourneys and summer leagues. I used to play everyday but I’ve stopped cause the talent level isn’t how it once was.”
But still Maine can’t stop playing and here at FCI Loretto he’s one of the best to do it.