When people ask who my favorite player was growing up they usually expect to hear something along the lines of Jordan, Magic or even Kobe. Those are pretty safe answers but my favorite is player none other than the late Tyron “Alimoe” Evans. Alimoe was a special person and an even more special player. I first saw him play at the Kingdome basketball tournament at The King Towers in the mid 90’s. What caught my eye about this guy was his ability to handle the basketball. Most players his height would be subjected to a life of rebounds and block shots but Alimoe was different. He was literally a magician with the ball. As soon as he entered the park the news of him potentially playing buzzed around the park and spread like wildfire. There was no social media then so news traveled by way of word of mouth. People came from far and wide just to get a glimpse of this guy. On the court he would torment his opponent by talking trash after every bucket or flashy dribble move. He was nearly impossible to guard. At 6’8 he moved as graceful as guards a foot shorter than him. He was unselfish with the ball and was vocal on the court. A natural team leader. I had the pleasure of meeting him through a mutual associate and he was cool. Off the court he was one of the funniest guys that you would ever meet. He always cracked jokes and lit up a room whenever he stepped inside it.
Alimoe passed away in 2013 and although I didn’t know him that well personally it felt like I lost a family member. I looked up to this guy from afar. I patterned my game after his and even emulated some of the moves I would see him do. Growing up in Harlem prepares you for the world a little bit differently than anywhere else in the world. Everything he did personified Harlem. The flair, the braggadocios attitude, all gave Alimoe a larger than life persona. I can remember hearing the announcer over the loud speaker “The Black Widow is in the Building!!!” and feeling a sense of excitement. There was no better feeling than that as a basketball fan. He is greatly missed and there will never be another Alimoe.
Basketball is my Job… If I could just make $60,000… Thats my job!
Alimoe didn’t make the NBA but he didn’t need that. He lived his life doing what he loved to do. Of course every kid who picks up a ball and plays basketball dreams of one day making it to the professional ranks but I’m sure that Alimoe was content putting a smile on kids faces across the country. It was a different time then. Alimoe and others found a way to make something out of nothing. They took the game they loved and went on tour displaying their talent for the people. I’m glad to have been one of the people who got a chance to witness.