Bivins On Boston
Posted Dec 13 2007 4:56PM
SECAUCUS, NJ, Dec. 13, 2007 -- If you go to Michael Bivin's MySpace page the song "Poison" by his group, Bell Biv DeVoe, plays in the background. Part of the lyrics of the song, "It's oh, so beautiful, relationships they seem from the start," can be applied to the Boston Celtics, Bivins' hometown team that has opened up to an 18-2 start under the Big Three era of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce.
We caught up with Bivins to talk about basketball, music and his new feature on TNT Overtime where he combines the two. Be sure to watch TNT's Thursday double header tonight starting with Wizards-Heat at 8 p.m. ET followed by Spurs-Lakers at 10:30 p.m. ET.
Youíre doing this thing for TNT Overtime and itís sort of perfect timing having your favorite team doing so well. How proud does it make you as a Boston fan seeing them returning to the glory days?
Bivins: I think over the summer, as you seen the team coming together, everything looked good on paper. Then I think once they had the time to go overseas it looked like they sat down and figured out what the goal was going to be and that was for all of the different solo stars to come together and form this one group.
I think thatís what weíre seeing. Weíre seeing no egos. Weíre seeing great ball movement. Doc Rivers is doing an excellent job. The young boy, Rondo, the point guard who everybody thought wasnít going to be able to distribute the ball and keep the Big Three happy, heís coming into his own. Itís like no one could have predicted it on the court, but everybody predicted it on paper because they thought they were going to have things against them. But thatís the good thing about it, theyíve overcome it and theyíre looking like they can go all the way to the Eastern Conference championship.
Have you had any time to spend around the team yet?
Bivins: I was at their practice maybe a week and a half ago and I interviewed the Big Three separately. Just even after practice, you could feel it man. When you walk into T.D. Bank North, it feels like the old Garden. That feeling is there again.
What can you say about KG? I was at Europe Live with the Celtics, so I got to spend some time around him, and he was so impressive to me. His level of professionalism, his intensity, his commitment Ö What did you think about being around him?
Bivins: I think everything you just said. The guy has been through a lot. Heís been on the losing end for many years and I think heís matured to the point where now, you know, he had to make the decision to come to Boston which Iím sure wasnít his first choice. Just in that decision itself, you can tell where his head is. He turns me on every time I see him. If youíre down and youíre around him, youíre going to get a burst of energy.
In your position as sort of a jack of all trades in the entertainment business, youíve probably run across these athletes outside of the basketball setting. Do you think all those relationships youíve built are going to help with this feature that youíre doing for TNT Overtime?
Bivins: Oh man, Iím the man! (Laughing) I know all the ball players. I get inside and access, as my producer Drew Watkins would say. I see the PR lady and she gives us that look that itís not going to happen and before you know it, it happened. The interview is going down. Then sheís like, ďOh my God! How did he do that?Ē And I say, ďThatís us at TNT. We got inside access.Ē (Laughing).
A lot of people know you for New Edition and Bell Biv DeVoe, and some people saw you on Making the Band, but whatís been going on with you these days other than TNT?
Bivins: Iím a married guy, got a beautiful wife, I just had a beautiful daughter named Savannah. Iím just kind of staying in my lane. Whenever thereís basketball and thereís music, Iím at home. I kind of just donít let the music industry and the latest trends take me off course. Thatís what I do. I lead a really simple, parallel road. Either Iím into sports and fashion, or you know, Iím just doing the music thing because thatís where my strong points are at.
What music do you listen to, what artists do you like?
Bivins: Iím an old school guy. Iím the Ď80s, Iím the Ď70s. I like soul. Iím listening to the OíJays, Iím listening to when music was good. Iím listening to Jay-Z, Iím listening to Jeezy, I like Lilí Wayne. Iím a little bit across the board. It depends what mood weíre in when weíre making our move that night, what we want to hear. When we need energy, we do rap. When we want to hear some love music, we put on the Ď70s and the Ď80s and get that going. (Laughing).
Youíre an artist and you sort of ended up becoming a producer and went behind the scenes. Not that the Celtics have done a bad job, but if you could play GM and basically produce the team, is there anything that you think they could still use?
Bivins: I think I would get another shooter. I wish we had J.J. Redick. I wish he was there, only because, I just think when you got that real, hot, cool white guy mixed in with the black kids, you have the perfect Boston Celtics. Our tradition is based on Red Auerbach having it across the board. Thatís why Larry was so successful with what he brought to the table and everything. Thatís just me. Iím just a pure Boston guy, thatís what I think. I just wish we had another shooter so that if anything would happen to Ray or he would go down, they would cover it. Right now heís the difference because heís the other option.
Looking at the rest of the NBA, what are other teams that have your attention and impress you?
Bivins: I like different players. I like the backcourt in Golden State with Ellis and Davis. I like that style of ball, that hardcore street ball when necessary. I like Iguodala in Philly. I like what heís doing. I like a little bit of that Chicago Bulls thing too with Hinrich and Gordon. I just think that at different times, different backcourts can be exciting. Iím more of a backcourt kind of player because I think the tempo of the game and the ball movement starts up top.
You ever play basketball on any level like high school?
Bivins: I did all of that. I played in All-American tournaments like the Boston Shootout. I participated in certain levels of AAU in Boston. You know, thatís part of the reason Iím here, itís because of my knowledge and my love for the game. Iíve been around it since I was eight.
A lot of people donít know, but I can tell you, my singing group New Edition, we actually merged entertainment and basketball. Part of our deal with our managers when we were kids was, if weíre going to do all these radio station interviews and all of that, then maybe we should play against radio DJs in basketball games so we can have fun and it doesnít just feel like work all the time. We actually started the whole celebrity-basketball forum. People donít realize it, but thatís where it came from. Thatís where the whole celebrity thing came from. It was New Edition vs. The DJs. You can imagine us little guys playing against these older guys.
Is there ever going to be a New Edition reunion or anything?
Bivins: Weíre always together. Weíre always together. It would just be more shows. Weíre constantly doing shows. Definitely.
Growing up, what were the players you looked up to?
Bivins: My very first NBA player I liked was Gus Williams for the Seattle SuperSonics. That was my first. I just liked Gus. I thought Gus was nice. I liked Tiny Archibald, George Gervin, Dr. J, World B. Free and then I started getting into the Michael Jordan and the stuff like that as that thing happened in the Ď80s. I seemed to pick up on ball players that I thought played the game, but didnít necessarily always end up at The Finals. Very few of them ended up at The Finals. Iím just a player of style.
I was going to say, I think you would appreciate a Walt Frazier Ö
Bivins: Exactly. Exactly. Exactly. But I didnít have the pleasure of enjoying him as much in the Ď70s because I was only like eight-years old. I think it was right after that is when I found my first player because I think it was the Seattle and the Bullets championship series in 1978-79 when I realized, ďOK, now itís time to really look at somebody and idolize.Ē Thatís when Gus Williams came in. Him and then Dennis Johnson came in. Loved that backcourt.
Whatís something viewers can look forward to seeing on your feature on TNT Overtime?
Bivins: First of all, weíre going to definitely continue to give the insight and access. Weíre going to get the top ball players, the top movie stars and celebrities. So weíre going to give you Entertainment Tonight, weíre going to give you Sports Center, weíre going to give you lifestyle away from the arena, asking them certain questions that you donít typically hear at the end of a game. Weíre going to be young and fun. Itís going to be infused with MTV, BET, mixed in with TNT so itís going to have a musical edge and a sports edge. Itís going to be real. My thing is never to attack them. My goal is always when you see a piece to be able to see a ball player that doesnít smile, smile because that will be a sign that heís enjoying himself.