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Last night, I was sent this link (must read) from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer regarding former NBA champion Joe Pace, who has fallen on hard times and is now living in a homeless shelter and pawned his championship ring for $1,000.

Of course, the difficulties that many former basketball players have once their careers run their course have been well-documented

This got me on a trip down memory lane, as I remembered reading a great  2003 Willamette Week profile of Antoine Stoudamire -- Damon's cousin and former Georgetown Hoya baller-- who was struggling to build a rap career and save up the $50/hour needed for music studio time. 

Digging a little deeper, I found this 2002 Portland Tribune article that called a little more attention to Antoine's (stage name: Madgesdiq) goals and, also, his love for the herb, "He lets listeners know it’s always 4:20. The liner notes, too, illustrate Madgesdiq holding a blunt, the ashes falling onto the decrepit logos of MTV and BET."   

This had me a little worried, as the herb hasn't always treated the Stoudamires so kindly (although it should be noted that Damon's airport pot case was dropped recently).

I wasn't able to find any recent media coverage of Madgesdiq's music career, but I did find his Myspace Page and I was more than happy to discover that Antoine is continuing his quest to make music. 

Here's a short clip from the page's profile:

"I Wanna Be Free", these are the words of the ever so engaging artist known as Madgesdiq. This humble, but confident emcee/poet who, once electrified fans as a college basketball star at both Georgetown University and the University of Oregon, has since transformed and now uses his gift of speech and heartfelt lyrics to uplift and inspire audiences through the medium of arts and entertainment. After a brief professional career, which took him to many different countries around the world, including Brazil and Portugal, Madgesdiq set out on a new journey, one that would eventually lead him back to his childhood hobbies of writing and music. "I’ve always been attracted to the beauty of words and the power music, but growing up in an athletic family and loving the game as I did, I devoted most of my time to it, leaving my love for the arts to wait until its destined time." 

The reggae/rasta theme in Madgesdiq's music is unavoidable, however his voice and flow seem to most closely recall, to my ear, Method Man.  Although I should probably leave the music critiquing to Ezra Ace Caraeff at the Mercury, the three songs that are available on Antoine's site are eminently listenable. "Faith", in particular, mixes clean, poetic lyrics (with complex historical references), a relaxed beat and a catchy hook. 

At the very least, if you voted affirmatively in Engineer Scotty's recent Pot Poll, you might want to head over to Antoine's MySpace and become one with Jah.

-- Ben (