Beats, rhymes and life are three of the corners where hip hop intersects. Few other TV shows have been able to cover all of these angles in-depth and authentically quite like REVOLT TV’s “Drink Champs,” which thrives on its candid conversations with the biggest and most influential figures in the game. In honor of such a one-of-a-kind show, REVOLT will be recapping each weekly “Drink Champs” episode, so you can always catch the gems that are dropped in each lit interview.
On the latest episode of “Drink Champs,” N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN welcome former NBA superstar Amar’e Stoudemire. Growing up between New York City and Florida, he made waves as a high school basketball star, skyrocketing up the rankings, and earning various honors including a McDonald’s All-American selection and becoming Florida’s Mr. Basketball during his senior year. Choosing to forgo college and jump straight to the NBA, Stoudemire was selected in the lottery by the Phoenix Suns with whom he became a perennial All-Star and All-NBA player.
Signing with the New York Knicks in 2010, chronic injuries disrupted his tenure with the franchise, ultimately signing on for stints with the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks before retiring from the NBA and playing overseas. Returning to the U.S. and becoming a player development assistant for the Brooklyn Nets, Stoudemire has walked an intriguing and winding road to where he is today.
In addition to Stoudemire, Houston rap legend Slim Thug pulls up to “Drink Champs” to run through his own history, which includes his years of independence in the southern underground scene, as well as his stint as a major label superstar.
To help give fans a recap of the episode, REVOLT compiled a list of nine things we learned from Stoudemire and Slim Thug’s “Drink Champs” episode. Take a look at them below.
1. Stoudemire’s Smoking Habits As An NBA Player
As the legalization of cannabis continues to move forward across the country, a number of former and current professional athletes have revealed their own marijuana usage —Stoudemire among them. However, the former All-Star says he never sparked up during his own career. “I mean, for me, when I played, I didn’t smoke at all because it affects my cardio,” he shares. “It affects my mental approach to the game, but everybody reacts differently to it, so it depends on your intake. So, if you can handle it and you can focus in and keep your cardiovascular up, [go for it].”
2. Stoudemire On Jumping From High School Straight To The NBA
According to Stoudemire, his playing career prior to being drafted was limited to two high school seasons, making his jump straight to the pros even more impressive. “I came out with no fear, bro,” he explains. “I was 18 years old when I was drafted and I was like, ‘Look, I’m here to stay.’ So, when I came out, I was, like, trying to dominate and that was my mentality — even as a player out of high [school]. I only played two years of high school. I started playing at 14 years old. I got drafted at 18...So, once I got there, I was like, ‘I’m here.’”
3. Stoudemire On Playing For The New York Knicks
After playing eight seasons with the Phoenix Suns, Stoudemire signed a max free agent contract with the New York Knicks and immediately immersed himself in the city’s varying scenes. “I was still me,” he says of his transition to a new franchise. “But at the same time, they say the way I worked, they saw my actions. I was also going to the Met Galas, I’m going to the Broadway shows, I’m going to the fashion shows, sitting court side, all that extra. But, at the same time, they saw me at practice early, training, staying late, hitting the weights.”
4. Stoudemire On Kobe Bryant vs. LeBron James
A popular debate among NBA fans is who is the better player: LeBron James or late Lakers legend Kobe Bryant? When asked to weigh in on the topic, Stoudemire initially picks LeBron due to his sheer dominance, but ultimately leans toward Kobe in light of his refined skillset and mental approach while on the court. “Kobe has a different intellect with the game,” he explains. “Well, he talked whenever you talked to him, he was all business and it was, like, strategic. LeBron was probably harder to play against because he was also more explosive. Actually, I take that back, Kobe’s harder to guard because Kobe, there was no weaknesses.”
5. Slim Thug On Going From Independent To A Major
Houston rap legend Slim Thug broke out nationally with his major label debut, Already Platinum, but had already cemented himself as a household name throughout his hometown. This afforded the indie stalwart the advantage of negotiating his own terms and retaining some semblance of independence before brokering his partnership with Interscope Records. “That’s how people knew me — from rapping over everybody else beats and being chopped-n-screwed,” Thug says of his origins in the H-Town rap scene. “And later on, we did ‘Still Tippin’’ and that came out, and that was something that crossed over out of the Texas chopped-n-screwed market. I was actually already signed before that, though, just off of them seeing what I was doing independently. Pharrell came to the city, it was a few people [who] came out. Your boy Ike [from Def Jam Records] came and got me. We just was doing our thing underground, independent. We was making so much money we just didn’t wanna sign no deals.”
6. Slim Thug On Working With Pharrell Williams
After signing with Interscope, Thug linked with super-producer Williams, releasing his debut, Already Platinum, in 2005, through his Star Trek imprint. While Thug and Williams would ultimately part ways, he looks on that era and their relationship fondly, crediting the producer with introducing him to new places and opening doors for him within the industry. “Nah, I’m happy I did that. Honestly. I had a great time, it was really a life changing thing. It was so much inspiration even just being in his presence, talking to him, traveling to Japan, going to Nigo crib. It was just so mind-blowing. I’m sure he put in plays for me to do stuff with Gwen Stefani and maybe Beyonce, ain’t no telling...he’s Skateboard P.”
7. Stoudemire On LeBron James Being A High School Phenom
LeBron James’ years as a high school phenom, when he was considered arguably the top basketball prospect of all-time, are well-documented. However, Stoudemire, a fellow First-Team High School All-American himself, was not far behind. He recalls his first impressions of LeBron and acknowledges his talents. “I was the number one player in the country,” he shares. “It was me and LeBron James, and LeBron was a junior, that’s how good he was. He was incredible, man. It’s like, ‘Yeah, this kid from Akron is amazing, his name is LeBron James.’ I’m like, ‘Who?’ So, I heard about him and then I saw him play, I’m like, ‘Yeah, he’s better than I am,’ and I was averaging 35, 16, and 7 in high school. I’m like, ‘Yeah, this kid, he got it all.’”
8. Slim Thug On Naming His Album Already Platinum
Upon his arrival on the national rap scene, Slim Thug made a big splash when he unveiled the title of his debut album would be Already Platinum despite never having released a major label album. During his exchange with N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN, he explains the rhyme and reason behind the title, and how it encapsulates his standing within the underground. “That’s exactly how I felt and that’s what I meant with it,” he says. “I already went platinum in the streets out here even though y’all ain’t know who I am, so that’s what it was.”
9. Slim Thug On The Impact of The Texas Winter Storm
The first national disaster to make national headlines in 2021 was the winter storms in Texas that ravaged a number of cities within the state, including Houston, where Thug’s own home was impacted. “They said the temperature was gonna drop, right? So, I dipped,” he explains. “I just seen in Fort Worth that cars were piling up, I’m thinking black ice is on the road. I’m thinking I’ma be stuck at home. I’m single, I don’t wanna be at home by myself, I dip to Miami thinking that was gonna be the worst. I never knew we would lose power, I never knew pipes would bust in the ceiling and flood my crib out, I had no fucking idea. We never dealt with this in my life.”