We get it! Most gen-xers know who Pee Wee Kirkland is because of rap music. Pusha T dubbed Kirkland ‘a legend in two games’ in he and Malice’s lunchroom table classic, Grindin’ and Ja Rule shouted him out in he and Ashanti’s Always On Time and Fat Joe let the world that even Pee Wee Kirkland couldn’t imagine it in his 2004 classic Lean Back.
Sports Illustrated once called the former Norfolk State guard “maybe the fastest man in college basketball.” Before graduating from Norfolk State, he averaged 41 points per game at Kittrell College.
A Harlem native, Kirkland was drafted in 1969 by the Chicago Bulls, but never played. He made more money in the street life and by 1971, he was convicted of conspiracy to sell narcotics and spent 10 years at Pennsylvania’s Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary.
Check Out Pee Wee Kirkland on Scoop B Radio
His career did not end there though! While incarcerated, Kirkland played on a prison squad in the Anthracite Basketball League. He once wowed the crowd by scoring 135 points in a game!
Yeah you read right! The final score of that game, by the way was 228-47.
Hip hop culture is fascinated with Kirkland’s line of work that dovetailed bouncing a ball and flipping narcotics. That lifestyle, Kirkland says he despises and he advocates kids to stay away from it. These days Kirkland speaks to kids all across the country about the dangers of the street.
He also found time today to catch up with Scoop B Radio. Of all topics, he chatted about the state of the NBA and the impact that newly retired Kobe Bryant had on the league.
“Kobe Bryant was the classic example of greatness in street basketball crossing over into the NBA,” Kirkland said. “Now the NBA has gone global on the backs of players like Kobe Bryant.”
Bryant, the 13th pick in the 1996 NBA Draft out of Lower Merion High School was a second generation hooper. His father, Joe ‘Jellybean’ Bryant played overseas in Italy and in the NBA with the Philadelphia 76ers and Houston Rockets. Jellybean had excellent footwork and Kobe acquired those athletic genes and then some. But he also had something special that was his own: a blend of fundamentals, streetball, and excellent footwork. Kirkland, once a standout point guard at Charles Evans Hughes High School in the 1960’s marveled at Bryant’s acumen.
Pee Wee Kirkland Drops Knowledge
“When you look at a guy like Kobe Bryant, he mostly reflects individual greatness,” he said.
“Kobe won with Shaq, he won without Shaq and he proved himself as an individual without him having to have great players around him because he reflected individual greatness.”
In addition to discussing Bryant on Scoop B Radio, Kirkland discussed his thoughts on Steph Curry and St. John’s Red Storm head coach Chris Mullin.
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