Long before Jimmy Whispers was crooning over synth hooks, the Chicago native aspired to be the next Pistol Pete Maravich. Highly recruited as an AAU prospect, Jimmy's dreams of making it into the NBA were cut short when his coach revealed to him that it was, in fact, illegal to smoke cigarettes during games. With a difficult choice looming over him, Jimmy eventually chose music.
Like many artists who grew up in the golden age of the NBA, basketball continues to have a special place in Jimmy's world. His Summer in Pain zine is flooded with NBA heroes of the 90s. His introduction before every show begins with an announcer reading his bio, reminiscent of Jordan's introduction during Bulls home games. He even put together a basketball tournament to help raise money for CeaseFire. He named the event "HOOP DREAMS," a fitting homage to one of the greatest basketball documentaries ever made.
We were able to catch up with Jimmy Whispers and talk hoops.
Q: At what age did you know you were a baller?
A: I came out of the womb holding a full-size indoor/outdoor leather Wilson basketball. It was a very painful birth for my mother.
Q: What is your go-to move on the court?
A: Killer Cross Over - Tim Hardaway style.
Q: Do you get to hit the courts often these days?
A: I shoot around a lot by myself at night. A couple nights a week.
Q: Have you been watching the NBA playoffs? If so, any predictions?
A: Golden State Warriors will win the NBA title.
Q: Who was your favorite player to watch growing up that wasn't Michael Jordan?
A: Pistol Pete Maravich. He was a legend. Everything about him. His life story, his style. Just wow.
Q: Any one player or team you enjoy now?
A: I'm pretty into Golden State. I haven't been watching much ball on TV but got pretty into a few Golden State Warriors games.
Q: Hit me with your most fond basketball memory.
A: Shootin' hoops with my old man.
Check out Jimmy Whispers' live show next time he rolls through your city, or invite him to a pickup game of 21.