On February 3, 2012, it was announced that Rafer Alston, also known by his legendary playground basketball nickname, Skip To My Lou, would be returning to the professional basketball scene. NBA Development League team L.A. D-Fenders decided to add him to their roster. A former playground basketball legend who helped And1 start a generation-defining ‘streetball’ empire, Rafer’s story begins in Queens, New York with stops in Las Vegas, NBA, in China and any other city, town or alley with a basketball net.
Few basketball players today can match the incredible rise to stardom like that of Rafer Alston. After covering his talents for the first time in 8th grade before starting his epic career at Cardozo High School in Queens, New York, Rafer was quickly seen on the famous Rucker Park courts, breaking his ankles and embarrassing guys. twice her age and doubling her height. He soon received the nickname “Skip To My Lou” in honor of his patented leap-like dance that he did as he dribbled the ball across the field. Crowds of all ages went wild as they hung from tree branches, perched on rooftops and battled elbow crowds just to get a glimpse of the skinny, sleepy-eyed child playing basketball.
Rafer tried the varsity basketball scene but was not very successful, after a one-year long stint at Venura College, Fresno City College, and then Fresno State. Skip To My Lou was not the same in the face of college asphalt competition and quickly returned to the East Coast to pursue his NBA dreams in other ways. Rafer would soon be offered a stage on the international streetball scene, as promoted by trash-talking basketball clothing brand And1. Rafer helped launch the And1 Mixtapes, a 6-part series that quickly led to the And1 Mixtape Tour, an entertaining and action-packed showcase of elite streetball talent, antics, and swagger.
Quickly becoming an international icon, Rafer was first given the chance to perform in the NBA by the Milwaukee Bucks. Never given a real chance by hard-headed coach George Karl, Rafer would start his NBA career bouncing from team to team, like many other fellow veterans. Rafer had short stints in Toronto and Miami before settling in his first real opportunity to play with the Houston Rockets. An effective playmaker who has started a handful of games and played well alongside Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming, Rafer would prove himself as a solid leader. He bounced back from Houston to Orlando via New Jersey and eventually returned to Miami where he was released after missing a practice and a game.
Rafer tried his luck on the international stage in China, but now returns to the NBA in search of a shot to return as a 35-year-old veteran, still finding solace and avoiding trouble on the hardwood floor or in basketball ashes.