A little over five years ago, Mike “Ghost” Zanidean trekked to Toronto from his home just outside of Vancouver with little more than $300 in cash and two suitcases full of gear. He dreamed of finding the finest comp Canada had to offer, but eventually earned worldwide acknowledgment thanks to his formidable bag ‘o tricks and took an American detour to play in Memphis at LeMoyne-Owen College on scholarship and run on AND1’s Mixtape Tour. He’s returned to the T.Dot, but things haven’t slowed for the hoops vagabond. “Million Moves” Mike founded the You Can’t C Me Streetball Tour, is releasing his “The Game Within The Game” highlight compilation film in August, still plays in college, updates his blog and YouTube profile regularly, guides young ballers in clinics and camps, and fine tunes his upcoming clothing line… In his spare time!
Hit the jump to learn more about Mike’s NBA influences, favorite pre-game meals, and favorite moves!
When we met with you last, you were hooping at Division II LeMoyne-Owen College in Memphis. How nice is winter in Tennessee?
Well, the winter wasn’t as harsh as it is up here in Toronto, but the summer was so hot that the winter seemed cold. Put it this way: I would rather spend the winters out in Tennessee than I would here.
You took your game north of the border again this past year. What college did you suit up for?
Yes, I played for my prep coach Ro Russell at Centennial College this past year. It wasn’t a huge deal or nothing like that, but I been away from organized ball for a year or so touring so I needed to get back in the system. “DO THE COLTS CLAP!” Haha!
What’s your take on the age-old stigma that, “Streetballers can’t play organized ball, they only come with sly ballhandling?”
Well to be honest, many guys who are labeled streetballers can’t play in a system so they get that label. They are either good at dribbling or dunking. But if you really break down streetball, it’s just ball being played outdoors and it depends what court you’re at. I’m considered a “streetballer” and I got Rookie of the Year this year, was at our All-Star Weekend, lead all rookies in assists (4th in conference) and then some. But hey, people like to judge based on how you play the game, not what it is you do.
What’s your preferred meal or dish before a game?
Well, I don’t have a job. I hustle for my money through basketball, which means camps, clinics, pickup games, tours, DVD sales, my clothing line, selling clothes from my sponsors, etc. So some days I may go for the chicken pasta, Mom’s Sheppard’s pie, or some days I may be forced to eat little or nothing at all. I’m not embarrassed ‘bout my grind, it’s how I live. I wouldn’t change it for the world. Believe me, it will be steak and lobster on the regular soon enough. Haha!
You recently started your own streetball tour, Can’t C Me. Who are you rolling with and where are you guys playing?
The Can’t C Me Tour is basically a group of talented athletes from all over Canada who share the same passion for the game. I got dunkers, handlers, and players who play college ball. My dunkers are: Mars, Killa Dee, Hardbody, Prince, Cheez, and I got two of the best ballhandlers / tricksters in North America in Pepper and No Joke.
You coach youth ballplayers and host a bevy of ballhandling clinics around the Toronto area. My handle is busted. What tips are you giving me to improve my skills and confidence?
Well, I’m going to tell you what I tell them. You have to make sure you take pride in dribbling the rock. What I mean is don’t think ‘cause you’re walking around bouncing a ball you will become great at it. You have to break it down to a science, see what makes the ball bounce faster, higher, lower, and work on your footwork. Yeah, footwork is key! From there, don’t work on confidence, just have it!
Your semi-biographical/highlight DVD, “The Game Within The Game” is dropping near the end of August. What’s featured on it?
“The Game Within The Game” has been a DVD in the making for 7 years. I haven’t been working on it for seven years but it has been an idea and a goal I was striving for. From filming high school games, to pickup games, events, tours, and a hot freestyle I did back in ‘06 (which to this day, everyone who sees it says is the hottest freestyle out). The DVD features a few sections of general pickup games, the Killa Krossova tour when I faced Hot Sauce at the Air Canada Center, and even a tribute to the high flyers of Toronto. It’s pretty dope. I think streetball heads will definitely love it.
What challenges did you face? How did you decide what footage to eliminate?
Well, if you look at my YouTube profile, (www.youtube.com/ghoststreetball) you’ll notice that I have over 100 videos up there, so what I do is just take out the hot stuff I don’t want to release on the Internet and store it. Then with exclusive events, like tours and shows, I just stack all that, too. Before you know it, you have 20-25 folders of footage and you just go from there.
What players (past or present, NBA/street) do you draw off of creatively?
Jason Williams. G.O.A.T… This man needs to come over your way and hit Rucker or Kingdome. Other NBA players I watch carefully include Chris Paul, Ray Allen, and Nash–Nash is so damn crafty. Non-NBA guys are dudes from my hood I hoop with on the regular like Stu Ross, you may know him as No Joke, and my big brother Jeffery Farmer.
How many ankles have you cracked?
This year?! Or…
Uncountable. I think everytime I step on the court I catch someone. It’s getting harder because people know me more and more now and dont play higher than the freethrow line, so now I take pride in hitting numerous threes per game. This game never gets boring, I won’t let it.
You need to get to the rim. What’s your go-to move?
I got this over hand crossover that combines a quick first step with a decieving head fake… It’s greasy! I get a lot of drops off that as well. I got a DVD that is coming out that has a whole bunch of breakdown moves as well as my dribbling workouts that can be ordered from my blog www.youcantCme.com as well as the DVD “The Game Within The Game.”
But, BIG SHOUTOUT to Bounce and all the staff. You guys have been showing me a lot of love for a scrawny little white boy out of Canada when you don’t have to. Respect!
Lakeshore in the Building!