Want To Go?
WHO: AND1 basketball team vs. Albany All-Stars.
WHAT: AND1 Streetball Tour.
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. today.
WHERE: Albany State’s HPER Gym.
TICKETS: $15 per person.
ALBANY — Todd Burnett won’t be able to fit a car into Albany State’s HPER gym tonight for the much-anticipated visit from the AND1 Streetball Tour.
So he’s settling for the car dealer.
“These cats will come in and normally dunk over cars,” Burnett said of AND1’s players. “We can’t fit a car into that gym, so we are thinking about having them dunk over the guy who owns the car dealership.”
That’s the kind of excitement Burnett, a promoter for the event, expects tonight when AND1 makes its first appearance in Albany in more than a decade. AND1 will take on the Albany All-Stars, a team made up of local players who were narrowed down after competing in a recent 5-on-5 tournament.
Livingston Fulton, owner of WSRA (1250 AM), was instrumental in bringing the high-flying team of street ballers to Albany, and he said they play a style of basketball that compares to “the Harlem Globetrotters on steroids.”
“If you love skill and love excitement and showmanship, you have to be here,” Fulton said. “To see a guy do a handstand and dribble the ball at the same time and keep opponents away from him is awesome.”
Seven members of the AND1 team will play tonight, including Highrizer, an Atlanta native who appeared in the movie “Crossover” and won the ESPN City Slam competition two years in a row. He will be joined by Smokin’ Aces, Easy J, Werm, Polo, 50 and I’ll Be Right Back. The team is coached by former NBA star and future Hall of Famer Gary Payton, who won’t be in attendance for tonight’s game.
Streetball started more than 20 years ago in New York City and has spread across the country, but nobody has made it as famous as the AND1 crew, which last played in the Albany Civic Center in 2001 but will entertain crowds tonight in a much smaller venue.
“It’s a more intimate setting. The capacity is 4,500, and you can get an up-close look at the players, dunks and all the antics,” Burnett said.
Burnett was a member of the Albany All-Stars team in 2001 that challenged the AND1 team, and he said it was a night full of memories.
“They have a guy who can take a defender’s shirt off while you are guarding him, and you don’t know what the heck is going on,” Burnett said. “They have played all over the world. Anywhere you can think of, they have been. And you want to catch them now, because who knows when they will be back?”
Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., but doors will open at 6:30 p.m. Cost for the event is $15, and all proceeds will go toward Agape Life Ministries.