In His Lifetime, Vol. 1

Bobbito Garcia (left) and DJ Rich Medina. Photo by Leon Laing.

On the heels of the second season of the What’s Good with Stretch & Bobbito podcast, I reflect on the film screening of Rock Rubber 45s. Rock delves into the highs, mids and lows of Robert “Bobbito” Garcia’s life. Garcia’s third film also shows how basketball, music and the sneaker culture are inextricably linked.

As a proud Jamaican American, I jokingly told Garcia he reminded me of a Hedley family member on the In Living Color TV show. In the “Hey Mon” skit, each member of the West Indian family had multiple careers. Garcia is a successful basketball player/author/DJ/filmmaker.

Shown at the Punch Line Philly venue on July 1, Rock features Pee Wee Kirkland, MC Serch, Stevie Wonder, DJ Spinna and DJ Rich Medina, to name some celebrities. Garcia was the director, writer, producer and music producer of the film. He and Medina, a Philly native, hosted the screening.

“It’s been the same [response] at every city,” Garcia explains about the audience’s reaction to Rock. “It’s been jubilant. I’m blown away by the response.”

His basketball ties to the Philly area made Rock’s film debut at Punch Line even more significant. Garcia—and the legendary Kobe Bryant—played basketball for Lower Merion High School, a school located in a Philly suburb. Garcia graduated there in 1984, 12 years before Bryant did.

Philly isn’t the only Pennsylvania city Garcia has basketball ties with. Harrisburg is another. Harrisburg native Chris Franklin, who plays for the Harlem Globetrotters, says Garcia is a “good friend” and “amazing guy.” Franklin says he became friends with him during the time when they appeared in Nike commercials and toured together. In the 2001 Nike Freestyle commercial, you can spot Garcia and Franklin more than once. Garcia is seen first at the 22-second mark while Franklin appears first at the 53-second mark.

“I didn’t know how influential he was on the culture,” Franklin says about when he first met Garcia. After learning about his impact, Franklin called Garcia a “cultural icon.”

On August 6 to 9, Franklin held his annual basketball camp in Harrisburg.

Speaking of sports, Garcia used to host It’s the Shoes, a sneaker head show on the ESPN sports network.

As a far music is concerned, Garcia, as well as his partner DJ Stretch Armstrong, were the SoundCloud of the ’90s. On their epic radio show, the two introduced hip-hop heavyweights to the world. These artists included Biggie, Jay-Z, Wu-Tang and Nas. The Rock film shows that Garcia is friends with 3rd Bass. He even makes a cameo appearance in the group’s classic “Gas Face” video. Aside from the radio show, MC Serch helped to give Nas his big break.

“We were fortunate to have Nas on the show,” Garcia says.

When he’s not making films, you can listen to him on What’s Good with Stretch & Bobbito. August 15 marked the second season for the podcast. Check out the new interview with the enigmatic singer/songwriter Erykah Badu.

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