|Birthdate||July 24, 1976|
Rafer Jamel Alston (b. July 24, 1976), also known as Skip To My Lou or Skip 2 My Lou, is a point guard for the Houston Rockets.
- Alston was suspended for two games without pay on November 14th due to participating in a fight over a foul caused by Matt Barnes at Phoenix. NBA President Stu Jackson commented: “Other players came in as peacemakers to separate them. Steve Nash escalated the incident by coming in not as a peacemaker, but as an escalator. Tracy McGrady pushed him. Shaquille O’Neal pushed McGrady. Rafer then took a swing at Nash," and “If he just kind of retaliated and stopped, he would not be looking at the penalty he is looking at today,” 
Streetball legend Edit
Alston grew up in Jamaica, Queens as a street basketball legend and has received most of his recognition for that aspect of his career. In high school at Benjamin N. Cardozo High School he played in only 10 games his last two years but managed to score 319 points. He first came into the public spotlight for his starring in the And1 Mixtape Volume 1. In this mixtape, it had him performing his legendary dribbling moves on future NBA star Stephon Marbury. Alston attended California State University at Fresno and was drafted after his junior year at Fresno State by the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round. He was the 39th pick overall in the 1998 NBA Draft.
His nickname Skip To My Lou stemmed from his tendency to skip while dribbling the ball upcourt. He played in several prominent streetball tournaments including the Entertainer's Basketball Classic, the North American street basketball tour, the AND1 Mixtape Tour, and the ESPN TV show, Street Ball. It is said that during a streetball tournament at the legendary Rucker Park in Harlem, Alston once performed what most would regard as an impossible move: during a fastbreak, he supposedly glided in the paint for a layup attempt but made a change of plans in the air as he rolled the ball down his right arm, across his shoulder and down his left arm to a trailing player for a finishing dunk. Since 2006, Alston has served as the spokesperson for the Houston Rockets Blacktop Battle -- a popular 3-on-3 tournament held every spring in Houston.. His two sons: Brandon and Steve, known as "Rafers guards", are expected to make their AND1 debute in May of 2010.
NBA career Edit
Despite his cult following from the streetball circuit, Alston decided to make the transition to the professional game. After sitting on the bench for most of the time he was with the Milwaukee Bucks, he emerged as a starter for the Miami Heat in 2004. He did not disappoint, averaging 12 points and 4 assists on a young Miami team that made it to the first round of the playoffs. During that season, in a March 26th game against the Dallas Mavericks, he hit a game-winning shot in overtime with 0.5 seconds left over the outstretched arms of Shawn Bradley to catapult Miami to a 119-118 victory. He signed with the Toronto Raptors during the summer of 2004.
Following a tumultuous tenure with the Toronto Raptors, Alston was traded to the Houston Rockets for guard Mike James on October 4, 2005. Although Alston frequently was criticized for his attitude while in Toronto, it is believed that Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy conferred with his brother, Miami Heat coach Stan Van Gundy, who coached Alston during the 2003-2004 NBA season, about Alston's work ethic and attitude. Jeff Van Gundy's reputation for toughness and his ability to get the most out of players previously considered "trouble-makers" or "temperamental" (e.g., Latrell Sprewell) has led to optimism on the part of the Rockets' staff. In the 2006-2007 season, as the Rockets starting point guard, Alston averaged 13.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 1.6 steals per game. He finished the season ninth in steals among all NBA players, fourth in three pointers made, and 20th in assists. He also had the worst field goal percentage in the NBA among qualified players at 37.6%.
On November 14, 2008, Alston was suspended for two games without pay for his role in a fight after a non-call foul with Matt Barnes and Steve Nash.
During the altercation, Alston can be seen throwing two punches, resulting in a bleeding scatch on Nash's neck. "I’ve never been this mad,” said Nash, who watched the video of the fracas for the first time after learning of the NBA judgments. “Unbelievable.
Legal troubles Edit
On Sunday morning, August 5, 2007, Alston was arrested in downtown Houston on misdemeanor charges of assault and public intoxication. He was arrested again in the early hours of Tuesday, August 28 in New York City on charges of allegedly slashing a man on the neck during a nightclub altercation. Neither the club owner, police, nor security tapes have provided any evidence of the incident occurring.
The charges brought against Rafer Alston for the incident that took place on August 5, 2007 were dropped on February 29, 2008.
Career transactions Edit
- 1996 committs to play college basketball at California State University, Fresno.
- Played in the Continental Basketball Association with the Idaho Stampede.
- Drafted by Milwaukee Bucks in 1998
- Signed by the Milwaukee Bucks as a free agent in 1999.
- Played in the NBA Development League for a year with the now defunct team Mobile Revelers. He signed a 10-day contract to the Toronto Raptors then signed a contract for the remainder of the 2002-03 NBA season.
- Signed as a free agent with the Miami Heat for the 2003-04 NBA season.
- Signed as a free agent with the Toronto Raptors through the 2004-05 NBA season.
- Traded to the Houston Rockets on October 4, 2005, for point guard Mike James.