The American Basketball Association’s College Park Spyders is promising fans an exciting debut year, with the addition of AND1 superstar Phillip “Hot Sauce” Champion to the expansion team’s roster.
The Spyders, which joined the ABA in December, made the announcement today with team president Duane “Spyder-D” Hughes comparing the acquisition to a previous high-profile ABA signing.
“This signing reminds me of when Julius Erving first came into the ABA with the Virginia Squires,” Hughes explained to AllHipHop.com. “There were no trumpets blaring or fanfare. The Squires executives knew just what they were doing though. They were signing Mr. Excitement.”
Champion has already brought his fare share of excitement to basketball through his six year stint on the AND1 Mixtape Tour.
The Orland, Florida-born, Columbus, Georgia native joined the AND1 team during the summer of 2000, recruited after the same street-style of playing that kept him off his high school’s basketball team, found him a following on Atlanta’s Run N’ Shoot courts, a popular gym for pick-up games.
Hot Sauce’s popularity on the AND1 circuit led to a role in the basketball movie Crossover opposite Wayne Brady and Wesley Jonathan.
Hughes, who previously helmed the ABA’s Charlotte Krunk, has no doubt that his newest player will fit into the ABA’s more conventional style despite his street ball roots.
“I told Sauce just to be himself on the court,” he said. “Basketball is basketball when you are born with God-given gifts. Like the ABA of old, people will come to see something they have never seen before. That’s what the great ones do: they create, improvise and mesmerize. That is our challenge as an organization. That is Hot Sauce’s challenge as a player who will be leading an expansion franchise.”
Hughes, followed a successful high school basketball career with a pioneering Hip-Hop career.
He then returned to basketball with the ABA in 2005, but has not retired his rap aspirations.
The “Big Apple Rappin’” artist, who was one of the first rappers to launch his own label, Newtroit Records, in 1979, is currently working on an autobiography.
He is also putting the finishing touches on his final rap album, Legendary, so named as an homage to those he has worked with throughout his career, including Roxanne Shante, Sparky D, Father MC, Eric B, and countless others.