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Predictions from the cell
by Seth "Soul Man" Ferranti / May 13, 2004

Seth M. Ferranti

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 West coast teams gotta be the favorites," says the tattooed, musclebound convict called Sport, who hails from Cali. "You got the Lakers and you got the Kings. And I ain't just saying that cuz I'm from California. One of them is gonna get that chip, man."

And in the feds that seems to be the sentiment as every hoopheads I talked to was feeling either the Lakers or the Kings to take the NBA title. And dudes in here go hard on the NBA. They're basketball junkies who mainline TV time. Overdosing and fiending on the games. They can't get enough and come playoff time they know it's win or go home. They up in all the magazines like Sporting News, SLAM, Dime, and ESPN, quoting players and holding court in the common area commentating like they're
Charles "The King" Barkley or Kenny "The Jet" Smith. Espousing opinions out the gate and putting themselves on front street hoping nobody will do a verbal drive by and shoot them and their opinion down.

"The Lakers are gonna win," Wild Bill says. "Because of Shaq-muthafucking-Diesel, Kobe-muthafucking-Bryant, Karl-muthafucking-Malone, Gary-muthafucking-Payton, and Phil-muthafucking-Jackson." And that's a safe bet as Phil Jackson has nine rings as a coach and a 42-4 playoff series record. But the Laker haters are in full effect and start hollering, "The Lakers are dead. They through. They ain't winning shit," at every opportunity.

Like Real Madrid, the star European soccer team, the Lakers are the Galacticos of the NBA and that star power carries a lot of weight on the pound. "The LA Lakers gonna win it all, yo," says Choke. "Cuz of KB8. Best player in the league, period." And Jamal, who has a little game himself echoes this thought. "The Lakers all the way. You know, I'm a Lakers' fan." But still not everyone is convinced.

My man Sharn from Ohio says, "I don't want to say the Lakers." He shakes his head in disdain. "I think Sacramento can win it. They score a lot of points, that offense, you know, and they can get by Minnesota." Melo from Motown likes the Kings also. "I feel like they want it this year." He says. "They hungry plus they got C-Dub back." That's straight Detroit love right there cause you know Chris Webber is his homeboy.

Smoke from DC likes Sacramento too. "They gonna win cuz of Stojakovic. Plain and simple." He says. And Booker, another Detroit cat, also supports the Kings. "I like Chris Webber," he says of the former County Day and Michigan star. "Bibby too and they play good at crunch time"

The opinions vary but dudes are looking to get their views validated. They'll be posted up in the TV room thinking they're Greg Anthony or Tom Tolbert calling the game. Holding court at halftime and giving their in game analysis. Arguing, gesticulating, and making their point like they're on Inside the NBA or Sportscenter. A whole bunch of wannabe commentators kicking the bo-bo. The whole nine yards. Yadda, yada, ya and all that. But it's all good. From the NBA to the penitentiary, it's about the life.

Out of all the dudes I talked to only one shouted out Minnesota. DJ, who just happens to be the best player of the pound, is looking California but feeling Minnesota. He likes the Timberwolves and MVP Kevin Garnett. "They got a well-balanced team." He says. "It's their year. They got the four-headed center, the scorers in Spree, Sam, and KG, and the crash dummies like Madsen. They gonna win it."

And they just might if they can get by the Kings and their psychedelic-all-out-offensive barrage. If Bibby is on, the Kings will be hard to beat.

Surprisingly, nobody had the Spurs winning it all. The resident Good Ship Lollipop team of the NBA can't get no love from the gangstas, thugs, and four corner hustlers that populate the feds. I guess they ain't street enough. Too vanilla, you heard. But vanilla can and will win the NBA title. The Spurs are too goody two shoes for the likes of convicts who give props to ballers like AI, Ron Artest, Rasheed, and Skip to my Lou.

But this writer thinks the Spurs are the team to beat. They are defending NBA champions and they look good. There's nothing vanilla about Tony Parker or Manu Ginobili's games either. These two dudes play in a blur of motion, wreaking havoc, and creating chaos on the court. And then there's Mr. Vanilla himself, Tim Duncan, who gets double-doubles on the regular and is the most fundamental and unselfish player in the league. Gregg Popovich is 11-0 when he wins the fist game of a playoff series. So other teams better watch out because if the Spurs get by the Lake show, they will be hard to beat and could be holding the championship trophy for a second consecutive season.

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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