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Wild Bamma
by Seth "Soul Man" Ferranti / July 1, 2006

Wild Bamma

Soul Man is the world's leading prison basketball journalist. He also writes for Don Diva, Elemental, Vice and Slam.
If you want the 411 on convicts, street legends, prison gangs, the mafia and life in the belly of the beast, check out gorillaconvict.com/blog
Check out Soul Man's first book Prison Stories and watch out for Prison Basketball, out in March 2007.
You can e-mail him at info@gorillaconvict.com.

In prison things get rough. The drama can jump off at a moments notice.
From monotony to chaos at the drop of a hat. It’s nothing a convict can't
handle, though. Violence is the norm in the belly of the beast even on the basketball court, where the games are physical manifestations that can border on vicious battles seemingly ready to erupt into a free-for-all. They don't call it gladiator school for nothing. So on the court, the ballers gotta go hard. Dudes take their games serious.

Sometimes too serious. Cats are betting mad cheddar on the outcome. So there ain't no fronting. And when the dude they call Wild Bamma is on the court, everybody better watch out.

Raymond Dukes, who is better known as the Wild Bamma, is a DC native that goes 6-foot-4 with a slim/athletic build. He has the long arms, big hands, and jumping ability that scream basketball player. He's been down several years now on a 10-year bid for possession of more than 50 grams, and he spends his time playing ball free reccing, going hard in the intramural leagues, and working on his game. The kid can play, there’s no doubt about it.

"It’s all about the love for the game," Dukes says. "When I'm out there, my soul glows. And I feel I can shut down anybody, and score just as well. I play power forward or small forward, and my left-handed shot is butter from anywhere. I do it all shoot, post, take my man to the rack, dunk and all."

Dukes is not joking. He's mean and rough, too. In the post, he will definitely rough it off.

"I'm not to jazzy wit' the ball," he says. "I get my reaction from the crowd by dunking on a nigga when the ball come off the rim, or blocking that shit like road construction. I play for love not the crowd."

After three seasons in the pen, dudes know what the Wild Bamma is about.

"I rec all the time," he says. "Dudes don't be going hard in here, they just foul harder, which makes my game more of a monster 'cause I love to play physical and smart."

And for real, ain't nobody trying the Wild Bamma on the court or on the pound.

"They get into their feelings a lot," he says of the opposition. "When you dogging a nigga, and he can't do nothing with you, he mad as shit and that’s the case with me. It's nothing you can do. I don't worry about nobody trying me neither, because I do everything well, and like I said I'm good wit' the physical."

The difference between prison ball and outside isn't much, according to Dukes.

"Prison ball is just more contact, but far as organized it be all right," he says. "But you got some ref's that favor some players, so that can fuck up a game but me, I'm like 'fucking stop me.'"

That aggressiveness serves him well. But Wild Bamma's not all prison ball, he played a little on the streets too.

"I did a lot of street ball," he says. "I played one year in high school Largo High. I played a lot of big names Walt Williams, Allen Iverson, Jerome Williams, Steve Francis... The NBA wasn't a dream of mine, but it was in the back of my mind. I broke my leg in three places in my 11th grade year, so that kinda of fucked up my chances. I haven't played in college, or the NBA, but I've played with guys on that level. On the real, Vic Page, and Jerome Williams are my men."

In prison, Dukes is known for laying wood.

"I like busting ass. That’s what I do." he says. "I'm a nice guy, but don't push me. I like watching basketball, and I love playing it."

When pressed to describe his game, Dukes says: "The soul of MJ, a shot like Kobe, and a bang down low game like KG"

The Wild Bamma is known on the pound for his forcefulness. But all in all, it’s like he says: "When I'm playing, my soul is glowing."

And that’s where it's at whether it's the penitentiary or not.

Seth "Soul Man" Ferranti, federal prison number 18205-083, is housed at FCI Loretto. Previously he resided at FCI Fairton, FCI Fort Dix, FCI Beckley and FCI Manchester. He has been a regular contributor to HoopsHype.com since 2003

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