It takes a special kind of basketball player to captivate an entire city. A city as big a New York I might add. Sebastian Telfair did just that during his 4 years at the Famed Abraham Lincoln High School in Coney Island. The same school made famous by his older Cousin Stephon Marbury, as well as by the legendary Jesus Shuttlesworth in Spike Lee’s “He Got Game”. Telfair would star in a documentary of his own, “Through the Fire”, which helped develop quite a cult following for the mercurial Point Guard out of New Yawwk. Back in 2003-04, I couldn’t get enough of Sebastian Telfair, and looking deeper into it, you’ll understand why.
“Bassy” as Telfair is affectionately known, was by far my favorite High School Point Guard in my developmental years. His sheer confidence and the swag with which he approached the game really pulled me in as a fan. I studied his tapes, tried to get my hands on every Slam Magazine feature, and I argued why Bassy would be the best to ever come out of the City. At the time of his HS Graduation he was NYC’s All-Time leading scorer (another Lincoln Alum, Lance Stephenson, would soonafter shatter that record). Let that sink in for a second. New York City… The Mecca. Little Sebastian Telfair, all 6’0 of him, scored more points than Kenny Anderson, Chris Mullin, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kenny Smith, Stephon Marbury, Felipe Lopez God Shammgod and Pearl Washington to name a few… That is no small feat. Bassy led his team to 3 straight PSAL titles, which at that time were unprecedented in NYC.
Telfair’s NBA career was up and down, and at times controversial. He did however last 10 seasons, which was more than anyone outside of his immediate circle could’ve predicted. Adidas signed him to a sneaker deal prior to his NBA Debut. That alone should tell you how marketable and legit Bassy must have been for a sneaker giant to take a gamble on him. Bassy remains the shortest player ever drafted out of High School. He was beloved by myself and many of my peers because we knew exactly the circumstances from which he rose. He mirrored our story; you really wanted to see him WIN. Regardless of the stats or lack-thereof, Sebastian Telfair’s Pro Basketball sojourn was a success. Point Blank Period. Plus we all know Bassy was LIKE THAT… You can’t have Derek Jeter, Jay Z and Michael Jordan attend your ESPN televised High School Games if your game itself was BASURA.
“When the hood gets one, they embrace it”