Celebrating 30 years of AND1 is an opportunity to reflect on some of the memorable moments and the impact the AND1 movement had on all of basketball.
It’s also a time to remember the players who are no longer with us.
The 30th anniversary of AND1: From the ‘Trash Talk’ tees and shoes to the mixtape tours
Antoine “Flash” Howard died March 7, 2004, of complications from a brain tumor. The Chicago native’s explosive leaping ability — while standing just 6 feet tall — stood out on the court, in addition to his dribbling.
Troy “Escalade” Jackson was known for his size. At 6-feet-10, he played weighing between 400 and 500 pounds between his college and AND1 days. (He was listed at 375 on the AND1 roster.) The younger brother of legendary New York City point guard and former NBA star Mark Jackson, Escalade died in his sleep from hypertensive heart disease on Feb. 20, 2011. His size, game and personality made him a fan favorite.
Tyron “Alimoe” Evans, also known as “The Black Widow,” died on Feb. 25, 2013, after complications from diabetes. His death was recognized by NBA stars Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal, who said the 6-foot-7 point guard and Harlem, N.Y., native had the talent to play in the NBA.
All of these players left a lasting impression on the AND1 family, and three teammates well known in the AND1 community — Rafer Alston (aka “Skip to My Lou”), Shane Woney (aka “Shane the Dribbling Machine”) and Philip Champion (aka “Hot Sauce”) — recently spoke with The Athletic and offered their thoughts and stories about Howard, Jackson and Evans.
Antoine ‘Flash’ Howard
Alston: Flash was a mild-mannered guy. That’s tough to come across when you think about guys from Chicago. He was mild-mannered and soft-spoken, just a thrill and a joy to be around.
He could really fly and jump out the gym. He was very athletic, but he was a joy to be around; that’s what I’ll remember about him. He was very uplifting.
Woney: Flash was the first one who was different. We’re from New York, and I’d never met a guy from Chicago. Flash is from the South Side of Chicago, and that’s what he brought with him.
He was the smoothest, coolest one out of all of us. All the girls loved him. There was something about him. He hardly ever yelled, but when he did yell, it was like he was singing because he was smooth.
A lot of the memories of him is us watching karate flicks on the late-night tip.
Champion: I can’t call a teammate a teammate until I really spend the block with him, where we can personally have a bond. I bonded with Flash mostly on my own tour than I did on the AND1 Mixtape Tour. AND1 was more structured — you had a layout, an itinerary with everything — so I didn’t really get to know Flash until he came on my tour.
I remember him coming to my room and saying how blessed he was to be a part of what was going on. I really got to know him, and when I found out he passed, it was sad. We were really cool. We would just chill, vibe and chop it up with each other.
Troy ‘Escalade’ Jackson
Alston: Escalade was somebody I grew up playing with and against. He comes from a basketball family.
Es was a big teddy bear. With his size, you’d think he was just a big, powerful guy, but he was a big teddy bear. He was one of my closest friends. He always had the players’ interests at heart. He never thought about himself, always thought (about) others.
I hung out with him a lot. We shared a lot of great times together.
Woney: With Escalade, he’s from New York, and I knew him from growing up. Plus, his older brother’s Mark Jackson, so I’ve always heard stories of him before I even met him. He came to the Rucker, and I met him there. We played in a lot of celebrity games.
Es was just Es. He was a big, giant teddy bear. He wouldn’t hurt a butterfly. He was super funny and very, very talented. He was very agile for a big guy, and he could pass the ball like his brother.
Another story with Es: He was dating this girl, and he used to get on the phone and sing this song every single night to her. I can’t remember the name of the song, but it used to be hilarious because he couldn’t sing, and he had it written down.
Champion: He was more like a politician. He would talk for certain things; he loved to talk. He was mostly on the tour politicking for players, to make a way for us to expand.
We’d go places, and we stayed in contact even after we all parted ways. But he fought for us. He was our politician.
Tyron ‘Alimoe’ Evans (aka ‘The Black Widow’)
Alston: Alimoe was a guy I played against since I was 10 years old in and around New York City with different AAU teams. We played against each other in high school.
Al was a phenomenal talent. The sky was the limit for him. There was never a dull moment with Al. He was always a jokester, a prankster. Al just wanted to play ball and laugh. He didn’t want life to be hard. He was just a joyful, playful person.
Woney: Al is different. I knew him since he was 11, 12 years old. I played with his older brother, and I know his whole family. I always hung out and played with his older brother and cousins. I remember he wasn’t good enough to play with us then, so he’d do his own thing. Years later, he grew, and then all of a sudden, Al became tremendous.
I remember playing a streetball tournament against him, and we were up 25 points. My coach subbed all of us out, and Al came in. I’m laughing, like, “What’s lil’ Al gonna do?” That day, he showed us everything. They came back and won, and Al had about 30 points.
I was actually with Al the night before he passed. We went on a road trip and was talking about life for three hours. That one hit me kinda hard. With Al, to know Al, you’ve gotta love Al.
Way too many funny stories. One story: Whenever you go to a restaurant and someone asked his name, Al would never say his name. Al would always say, “Son of a doski.” To this day, I still say it. He was also an avid Tupac fan. He loved Tupac. If you know New York and you can define Harlem, that was Al. He did everything the Harlem way.
Champion: I got to know Alimoe playing in side games. I bonded with him, and we would do things together for the AND1 tour. We bonded going to the radio station or getting something to eat or locker room-type stuff. Alimoe was a real cool guy.
He kept it real with you. He didn’t cut any corners. He told you like it was. He was, just, cool.
(Illustration: Ray Orr / The Athletic; photos: Steve Grayson / WireImage)
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