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Yes, it’s about that time. Rain, sleet and snow have made way for the sun, long evenings and fresh sneakers. Early may, when Europe’s hardwood champions have been crowned and the NBA playoffs shift into full gear, marks the inofficial start of the real basketball season: the streetball season! That’s when reputations are made, nicknames are born and every ballplayer naturally gravitates towards that “thump”, “thump” sound of his or her home court. Playground basketball is where it all started. Playground basketball is where talent is honed and friendships are made. It’s where neighborhoods gather and where skills and sweat are a currency. That’s especially true for the mecca of basketball, New York City. Nowhere else do streetball tournaments, players and games attract a quasi-religious following. Dollars, pride and bragging rights are on the line. Believe the hype!
The idea for a visual love letter to NY basketball was born when Red Cafe’s unreleased track “Heart & Soul” established itself as an instant office-favorite at K1X headquarters in Munich (Germany) last spring. Niels Jager (K1X Go-To Guy): “The tune was on replay 24/7. And one day it hit us: let’s build a statue for NYC streetball!” Red Cafe’s ode to the city that never sleeps is a Pete Rock production that boasts all the makings of a hip hop classic. K1X, who has been active in the outfitting of several high profile NYC streetball tournaments for several years, was all the more surprised to find out that this beast of a tune was not yet a prime focus of Red Cafe’s record label. Shake Down quickly agreed to let K1X shoot a poetic clip for the song, whose lyrics are a glowing personification of K1X’s appreciation for street basketball: The Heart & Soul of New York City.
French streetball documentarist Kevin Couliau (Asphalt Chronicles), who spent the summer of 2009 in the five boroughs hunting down supreme blacktop action, was a natural choice to capture the raw essence of NYC and its rich streetball culture. As was the Canon 5D Mark II as Couliau’s weapon of choice. Art director / director / producer Thibaut de Longeville (director of the acclaimed “Just For Kicks” sneaker culture documentary) and motion graphic designer Vincent Dumond of 360 Creative in Paris added their visual expertise to the project and took care of elegant motion graphics and bona fide post production.
The outcome of this work will celebrate its world premiere on May 1st 2010 on www.k1x.com. The clip features action from K1X affiliated tournaments in Harlem (“Together We Chill” and “Kingdome Classic”) and the Lower East Side (“Lower Manhattan Classic”) as well as a variety of other city courts and an impressive array of cameos by iconic players, opinion leading heads and a bunch of regular dudes. Bobbito Garcia, who got an early preview of the clip last winter had this to say: “It’s so beautiful, man. It’s snowing tonight but it made me look forward to the coming summer months again.”