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Lil D
by Seth "Soul Man" Ferranti / October 18, 2006

Lil' D

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.

They call him Lil D. He goes 5-foot-8, 150 pounds. His real name is Derrick Bady and the 33-year-old Memphis, Tennessee native has
some serious skills. They say size matters and that you can't teach height, but you can't teach heart either and sometimes big things come in little packages.

And Lil D got that diehard just like Iverson. In prison, when the little shorty rolls up to the court talking about who got game, ain't nobody trying to pick him. But when that little shorty is Lil D, the prolific scoring machine who's been lighting it up and winning championships at FCI Memphis and FCC Forrest City, dudes better get the 411 and get the kid on their team, because in Derrick Bady's case size doesn't matter and any team that lets him run the show is a sure championship contender.

"I got blazing speed and quickness with an NBA-ready jump shot, which makes me unguardable," Lil D says. "How can you stop a guy who's faster than everyone on the court with exceptional shooting skills? I've been giving dudes the business ever since I have been in prison."

By scoring at a phenomenal clip, Lil D has made a name for himself in the feds. He even has prison staff singing his praises.

"His game is like Iverson's," says FCC Forrest City Rec Specialist Mike Mills. "He's similarly built to Iverson just smaller, but just as quick and explosive. He has a lethal three-point shot and is excellent at controlling the tempo of the game. Derrick is one of the rare players who will tell his opponent before the game he’s gonna get 40 points and do it."

Sometimes more than that. Lil D had a career-defining moment when he scored 72 points in a 40 minute-prison intramural league game.

"I'm still dropping 30s, 40s and 50s on numerous occasions," Lil D says. "I even had that 72-point game and what makes that game so ironic is that I only had 14 at halftime. I went perfect from the field the second half and scored 58 to finish with 72. I shook up the BOP with that performance. Even the warden wanted to personally meet me. When I'm zoning, it's breathtaking. I turn free rec into comedy shows. I get to draining so many shots C/0's be laughing, shaking their heads and asking me why am I in prison."

A lot of readers might wonder, too. Why would a kid with so much God-given talent easily Division 1 college type talent, despite his size end up in the belly of the beast?

"I'm locked up for drug trafficking," Lil D says. "I been locked up for five and a half years and I get out soon."

Another hood tragedy of street dreams overtaking hoop dreams. Lil D was balling on the street but like he says, "I was making too much money to leave (the street life)."

With its mesmerizing allure and easy money, even the most talented kids can get caught up in the drug game.

About the pros Lil D says: "College, yes. But the NBA, I don't think so. I'm undersized to play in the league but if I was 6-foot, I'd be playing in the NBA."

Some dudes try to take advantage of shorty's size, but it doesn't faze him.

"Guys think they can stop me by laying wood, but I eat that shit and shit out paper," Lil D says. "Personally, I feel I can't be guarded one-on-one because I got the ability to break any defender down off the dribble. I have seen double-, triple-teams and box-and-ones ever since I been in prison."

But that doesn't stop Lil D. He's vicious. Brutal even in his execution. And he will put the ball in the air.

"The oldheads call me the gunslinger," Lil D says. "They say I'm one of the purest scorers, if not the best they have seen in the BOP. And I got to respect that because some of them been down a long time and seen a lot of great players. It’s a lot of guys (who say they have) seen better, but it's a lot of guys that think I'm the best player that they have ever seen. I have been MVP ever since I have been in Forrest City, plus winning championship after championship. I am dragging these dudes. I got the whole compound tied to my bumper. I think I'm blessed with the gift and the curse because my teammates and fans think I'm supposed to hit every shot."

That is the bane of all superstars from Jordan to Kobe. And when Lil D doesn't fulfill expectations, which isn't very often and is never in crunch time, the haters come out to play flashing their hate card.

"When I was in county, dudes would say the way you play basketball they going to love you. But I didn't know the love would turn to hate once I took over. Now I'm the most hated on."

That’s what happens when you continually win the chip.

"Derrick has five championships and five MVPs in five years," says Rec Specialist Mills. "He keeps the crowd on the edge of their seat waiting for the next exciting play. It’s always a capacity crowd whenever his team is playing. He's really a joy to watch and always puts on a show."

So in reality, the haters are being entertained just like everyone else and they are watching Lil D's every move. And with his shot they should.

"My shot is pure and that’s what separates me from everybody I ever came in contact with as a basketball player. They say I don't miss," Lil D says." I have hit 37 threes in a row just bullshitting one day. When I'm moving at a 1,000 miles per second in transition and pull up at the trey line the crowd be yelling lay up."

And Lil D goes hard, too.

"It’s about going hard with me," he says. "Because if I don't and they get the best of me, it will be the talk of the compound. So I got to go hard. I've had guys tell me that I'm embarrassing them in free rec and it's not that I'm trying to show a person up. My skill is just more advanced than these dudes. I hate losing because of these dudes' mouths and that’s why I stay on the gas and I don't talk trash."

But still dudes are going at Lil D.

"Dudes be going super hard on the court," he says. "Everybody wants to be the best. I have had guys say they have dreams about beating me and they don't care if it's free rec, All-Star Game or what... They want to beat me every chance they get and that’s not the killing part. I have had guys who played on my unit team and after we had won the ship tell me they don't want to play with me in the draft league because they want to beat me."

It’s a vicious world of one-up manship in prison basketball. Everybody wants to be No. 1. But in Lil D's world he’s the only superstar.

"All I got in here is the court," he says. "That’s a place where I can go and don't worry about anything, just exercise the gift God gave me. A lot of people speak to me by name and I swear I don't know them or seen them before. I'm a superstar in prison. Guys have come from other spots asking about me because they say they're talking about you in this spot or that spot."

And now they're talking about Lil D's game on HoopsHype.com. From inside the belly of the beast to the world. You can only get the real here.

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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