words_Jordan Hagedorn
photo_Kevin Couliau

The Nike World Basketball Festival took place a couple weeks ago in New York City. Basketball players and fans gathered, as Nike, Jordan and Converse put on amazing events, including Team USA Scrimmages, games at Rucker Park and a Jay-Z concert.

When I was out in NYC enjoying the games, I ran into world-renown DJ, basketball enthusiast and author Bobbito Garcia, aka Kool Bob Love. Since the WBF was so hectic, we caught up the following week to discuss his experience. Take a look below at what he had to say.

NBA players Carlos Arroyo and J.J. Barea of Puerto Rico with Bobbito on the mic at the WBF

JH: Talk about Nike’s World Basketball Festival.
Bobbito: World basketball Festival was unprecedented in New York City Basketball history in that you had national teams from five countries playing, well not all five teams played outdoors, but most of them did. Puerto Rico, Brazil, the China 19 and under National team and the France National team all played outdoors. And not just anywhere outdoors, but particularly in Rucker park, the most hallowed ground for playground basketball in the world, so it was a sweet combination.

The community was treated to some phenomenal games, including Battle of the Boroughs, which was Bronx vs. Brooklyn, Queens vs. Harlem and then they mixed it in with some other games. I got a chance to announce the Puerto Rico vs. Brazil game, which was a pure joy considering that I’m Puerto Rican. We won by 30 points, and every time I’m on the mic at Rucker it’s very special. I’ve been doing the Elite 24 High School All-American game there since 2006. It’s moving to Venice Beach this year, but to have an opportunity to announce at Rucker in the summer of 2010 was very cherished.

Talk about your Puerto Rican roots and your basketball heritage.
I’ve been playing ball since I was seven. That’s 1973, and I had the great opportunity to play pro on my island in my homeland back in 1987 for one season, and ever since then that was really the moment of clarity for me. I was recruited and scouted to play there from a pick-up game at the park, so it’s why I’m so devoted to the playground. It’s actually provided me the biggest moment in my career, and it perpetually provides me with definition of who I am as a ball player. Right now I am in the process of collaborating on a documentary with Kevin Couliau. You may know him from the short film “Heart and Soul of New York City”. It was a basketball homage clip.

Right now we’re collaborating on a documentary called “Doin’ It In The Park: Pick-Up Basketball, NYC.” Just in the month of July we visited 82 courts and only three boroughs (Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan). By the end of the summer we’ll have hit 100 parks in Queens and Staten Island as well. This is my life. I’m the former Editor-In-Chief of Bounce magazine for a couple years throughout this decade – the only publication in the world strictly dedicated to the playground as well. This is what I do; this is how I live.

What is your favorite Nike sneaker of all time?
I authored a book in 2003 called, “Where’d You Get Those? New York City’s Sneaker Culture: 1960-1987”. I don’t like answering the question of what’s my favorite sneaker of all time usually, however, I did include a top 10 in the back of the book. So for those really interested can pick up my book. It will be re-released in 2010 on hardcover.

What are your favorite sneakers of now?
I’m definitely digging the Nike Hyperfuse. I do have a pair of those with Durant’s name on the tongue in navy blue and red, USA colors. I wore those at the World Basketball Festival when I announced the Puerto Rico game. I’m feeling the 2010 Hyperdunk, hoping to get a pair of those soon. I love the LeBron VII. I had a couple pairs of those and wore those to the ground. Those are the sneakers I’ve been playing most in.

Currently Bobbito is working on an independent documentary with Kevin Couliau called “Doin’ It In The Park: Pick-Up Basketball, NYC” where they explore the history, culture, global influence and current state of New York’s outdoor summer basketball scene. It should be an interesting look at the unique world that is New York hoops.

To follow Bobbito, check out his Facebook page.