Street Basketball Legend, Dies at 38

From the “New York Post Blog Section”

link is here

3:20 AM, October 8, 2010 ι By JOSEPH STASZEWSKI

The New York City basketball world lost a legend Wednesday night when John (The Franchise) Strickland died in his sleep at the age of 38.

The sad news was spread all over Facebook and Twitter by different members of the city’s streetball community, by which Strickland is revered. They shared stories like him dancing with the crowd at Dyckman and his words of wisdom, including his signature phrase, “finish your breakfast”, which meant schooling and scoring on your man off the dribble.

Strickland’s reach goes so far that even Miami Heat star Lebron James mourned his passing on his Twitter account saying: “R.I.P to homie Strick.”Finish Your Breakfast”. Roc Boyz in the building.” Strickland was mentioned in Jay-Z’s hit song Public Service Announcement in the line: “No one can do it better. I check cheddar like a food inspector. My homey Strick told me, ‘Dude, finish your breakfast.'”

The 6-foot-8 forward, who was currently in the Halifax Rainmen’s front office as their Director of Basketball Development, was considered one of the best players ever in streetball. As a low-post wizard and a superb passer, he once averaged more than 40 points per game at Nike Pro City, considered the circuit’s primer league. Strickland became the first person to win a title there as a player and a coach when he led Gold’s Gym to the championship this summer.

“It’s not a good feeling, it’s a great feeling,” Strickland said after. …“It’s really about the players more than anything. They make me look better than what I am.”

Well he was pretty darn good himself, still playing in big games throughout the city.

Strickland, a Brooklyn native, played at Hawaii Pacific University, where he averaged a double-double in each of his final two seasons. He also played six seasons in the USBL (1995-2000). He was voted to the 1997 All-USBL Second Team and the All-USBL First Team in 1998. He averaged 22 points and 7.7 rebounds in 95 games. He spent more than 10 years playing overseas. Strickland, who earned himself an invite to the Knicks training camp in 1996, played for the Rainmen of the PBL from 2008-2010. John Strickland was invited to the Knicks training camp in 1996.

New York Post

John Strickland was invited to the Knicks training camp in 1996.

Strickland will be remembered as the guy in the gym you couldn’t take your eyes off of whether he was on the court or not. He was a showman, always playing the crowd and living in the moment of spontaneity. Pro City announcer Big Brawley Chisholm joked with Strickland during this year’s final that he needed to pick his pants up as they kept dropping down his waist on the bench. Strickland, with his hat backward, took it in stride and kept on coaching his players.

But while Strickland was never one to miss a chance to make a joke, there was a serious side too — the one that made him a father figure to many of the circuit’s players, the one that made him such a competitor on the court and the one that got him into heated basketball discussions after games, especially losses.

There are certainly players and people who can never be replaced or replicated. Strickland was the prototypical streetball player. He could flat out ball, could win over fans as well as win games and took those who came after him under his wing. Strickland’s passing leaves a great hole in the fabric of New York basketball.

There is only one Franchise.

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