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Rap and basketball
by Seth "Soul Man" Ferranti / February 5, 2006

The Game

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.

The Bloods. The Crips. Gangbanging dominates the streets of South Central LA. And the basketball courts are right in the middle of the hood. Bullets buzzing, rapid-fire spray from Mac-10's. The inner city can be a warzone. NWA set the precedent with "Straight outta Compton" but there’s a new gun on the block holding it down for the West Coast. And just like Ice Cube, that new guy is a triple threat throwing rhymes, colors and gunning from the courts of South Central, where streetball legends are made.

The famed Wilson Park in Compton has spawned old school legends like Marvin Hunt, Tran and Bolo. But another name spoken in reverence on the court is The Game. Yes, the multi-platinum, beefing-with-50-Cent, West Coast rapper. The kid can play. He got serious game. Maybe even NBA game. But with "The Documentary" selling
over five million worldwide, The Game doesn't have much time for basketball. Still, he dreams of that 10-day contract in the league.

"I'm a playground legend in California," The Game says. "Do the research."

His days at Compton High School attest to this.

"I averaged 14.9 points a game, 6 rebounds and 4 assists," he says. "Not bad for a man who also gangbanged and sold drugs full time, right?"

Dude ain't faking. The Game is a bonafide member of the Cedar Block Pirus from South Central LA’s Blood gang. Remember the movie "Colors." Well, The Game lived it. And his lifestyle derailed his basketball career before it started.

"I had a scholarship to Washington State, but my hoop dreams deflated because of drug allegations during my freshman year,” he says.

Before that, he had played with Tayshaun Prince, Gilbert Arenas, Tyson Chandler and Baron Davis – all making millions in the NBA now.

Up until the point when he was shot in his hood, The Game was all about basketball and gangbanging. But the shooting that left him hospitalized changed his direction in life, and as a result the hip-hop world has benefited greatly.

With his first multi-platinum CD and his second release "Doctor's Advocate" slated for release this year, The Game has conquered the hip-hop game in his quest to be the No. 1 rapper in the world. He has also branched out entertainment-wise with the gangsta flick "Waist Deep," which stars himself along with Meagan Goode and Tyrese.

But let's get back to basketball. The Game was busy on the court last summer. He was on Baron Davis' team in the Summer Pro League and also did his thing at the famed EBC Rucker Tournament in New York City.

"We played in Rucker with my Black Wall Street team, who beat Fat Joe's Terror Squad for the championship last summer," The Game says.

And he didn't just sponsor the team. He player well, dropping 24 on the DC All-Stars.

"It was a crazy experience." He says. "And I got my nickname Loose Cannon."

That was after the events from the previous summer, where The Game was ready to fight the whole Terror Squad team after Black Wall Street allegedly got cheated out of the championship. But it was all good, because they came back in 2005 to take the title. Imagine that, a Los Angeles team came to New York and took the title.

Can you say West Coast?

"Basketball still plays a major role in my life," says The Game, who claims he patterned his game after Eddie Jones. "I play on an everyday basis just to stay in shape. I am still one of the best basketball players Los Angeles has ever seen."

When asked if he'd rather be an NBA star or a rap star, The Game says: "NBA, it’s less confrontational. But rap is where I am and where I'll be for the next 10 years hate it or love it."

And that’s the story of the basketball-playing, gangbanging rapper, who returned the West Coast to hip-hop royalty, and who's poised to take down 50 Cent like the Lakers took down the Celtics in the 80s.

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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