With the 2007 streetball season in full effect we caught up with Joey “King Handles” Heywood to find out how his summer is going.
BT. What’s Up Joey. Thanks for stopping by, first up I just want to congratulate you on making the Ball4real bus this year. I’ve watched you since the early days of the Notic and its good to finally see you on the big stage.
KH. Thanks Brad, I appreciate all the support I’ve gotten since The Notic days and especially while I was on the bus. I’ve come a long way since 5, 6 years ago when this whole thing started and I’m almost there.
BT. Your first game was in Seattle and you played well enough to make the bus. What was your reaction when they told you they wanted you to join the tour?
KH. I didn’t have a reaction. It was a great feeling and I was happy but I knew my time had come.
BT. You were on the bus for almost 2 months playing in over 20 games. Overall what was the experience like for you?
KH. It was a real good experience, I mean first and foremost I was able to visit some 20-odd cities in America that I had never been to. At the same time you can see how the players are living on the tour and meeting all the fans out there. Most importantly though I learned about streetball on and off the court in the sense of how business ties into it and how the tours are run.
BT: What was your most memorable highlight on tour?
KH. Aside from playing with guys like Mike James, Von Wafer and Ron Artest’s brother it was probably Chicago. The thing with Chicago is that when I was young, a group of people including myself, Yash, his sister and a few other top ballers in Vancouver were supposed to go out there with our basketball coach, Mel ‘Tricks’ Davis of the Globetrotters. He was from Chicago so we were all supposed to go but it didn’t go through and we were heartbroken. But now I had the chance to go and the love I got out there was crazy! Every time I touched the ball the crowd went wild.
BT. What do you miss most about the tour?
KH. Bustin’ ass EVERY NIGHT! LOL! I miss playing with the contest players, Hawk, Pat Da Roc, Elevator ‘cuz we had our little handshake thing, Caution, all the dudes I got to play with. Being on that court in front of all those people a few times a week, you know..you end up missing that a lot. But I’ll be back so it’s okay!
BT: What happened in your last game on tour?
KH. Well I had flown to Washington right after the last JF Battle game so I was real tired but I made the game and played. I played alright, I had about 16 points but I had missed two games before, South and North Carolina, so obviously the players didn’t agree that I should be kept on but it’s okay. A lot of people may think I’m mad about it, but I’m not because I got a great experience out of it and opened some doors for me.
BT. You lasted most of the tour, how does it feel coming up just short of getting that contract?
KH. It’s nothing really. When I first got kicked off, yeah I admit I was upset, but I knew that I would have more opportunities because of this. I mean look at how many guys were on the And1 tour and they came out doing games everywhere and making names for themselves. I’m confident that I will be somewhere, so really it’s okay.
BT. You were recently flown out to the Toronto HIU to battle Tru Baller 1 on 1. There’s been so much talk in the last two years of you guys playing each other its good to finally get a result. How did it feel walking away with the win?
KH. It was cool, normal you could say. I think the hype around it made it bigger than it was but we spoke briefly and we squashed the whole “beef” thing. There’s some things I shouldn’t have said and same goes for him so we just put that aside. We were there to play and have fun with it. I respect him, that’s all it is. I’m glad we got that out of the way.
BT. Any possibility’s of a rematch?
KH. Well I think they had a great deal of success this year, so I think InField Marketing will want to try and pull it off again and I think Omar [JF MC] will want to do it again. I can’t say whether I’d do it or not because it depends on what I’m doing next summer. But it was definitely fun to go out there again. We’ll see what happens.
BT. How did the people out in Toronto accept you being that your from Vancouver?
KH. It wasn’t no difference although streetball is much more popular out there now than it is in Vancouver. I had gone out there last year and gotten love and this year the same thing. There were definitely a lot of people watching the battle and I’m glad I got to meet people out there.
BT. You’re working on a DVD now, is there a release date on that and what can we expect to see?
KH. No release date!! LOL! To be honest we were working on something but then I got into Ball4Real and it died. It’s hard putting together a mixtape so we’ll see where it goes, in the meantime we’ll rack up as much footage as we can. It’s something I’d like to do, but no guarantees.
BT: What events have you got planned for the rest of the summer?
KH. This Sunday I’m going to Spokane with Exile, yep that’s right he’s still hoopin’, to take part in a game out there. Yash told me EA Sports is going to be calling again for some more mo-cap work. I’m gonna chill for a little bit but obviously work on my game. Hang out with my family and friends since I’ve been away for over 2 months.
BT: What are your plans for the future?
KH. Just keep working on my game, play my cards right and try to get signed by someone then take it from there.
BT. Any last words?
KH. Thanks for having me, BT. Thanks to all my fans out there who supported me during the Ball4Real tour, the King still lives LOL!! Much love to everyone that’s helped me, everyone part of the UNION, Jay, Nelson, Mike, Lisa, Smarty Pants, Yash, Jordan, Fartman, Mariel. I appreciate everyone’s support and will continue to do what I do.