Skip to main content

"Okay, I'm reloaded"-- Jamal Crawford on Latrell Sprewell giving him his welcome to the NBA moment


Many NBA players use Jay Z's verses for a pregame pump-up. But before a preseason game in 2000, Latrell Sprewell used one for intimidation.

Coming off a six-game ECF loss to the Pacers, Spree and the Knicks hosted the Chicago Bulls to kick off their eight-game exhibition schedule. For the Knickerbockers, this was just another game to cross off the list before re-embarking on a quest for an NBA championship. But for Jamal Crawford, the Bulls rookie shooting guard, this was the moment he had been preparing for since the first time he picked up a basketball.

As that wasn't nerve-racking enough, Sprewell made sure to put some extra pressure on the 20-year-old.

I remember my first preseason game, and at the time, you guys know at the Garden both teams were at the opposite ends of the hallway, but you see each other. And I'll never forget, Spree came out when his group got together and he said, 'Okayyyy, I'm reloaded.'

Jamal Crawford, Knuckleheads

Here's the whole stanza from Jay Z's Brooklyn's Finest, proving it's the ultimate pregame pump-up song:

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

Okay, I'm reloaded!
You motherfu*kers, think you big time?
Fu*kin with Jay-Z, you gon' die, big time!
Here come the "Pain"

It's also a perfect intimidation song, and that's how Sprewell put it to use. According to Crawford, it worked.

First thing I'm thinking, 'We're professionals, you're with your group, they're with their group,' but he screamed loud enough so everybody could hear it. And Spree at the time, we was all 2000 Draft Class, so 1999, they just came off the Finals. So the first thing he said, 'Okay, I'm reloaded,' I'm like, 'Sh*t man, what you mean you're reloaded?'

Jamal Crawford, Knuckleheads

It meant Spree was ready to go. After a Finals loss in 1999 and Eastern Conference Finals exit the year after, the 6-5 small forward returned recharged, eyeing another title run with the Knicks. The Bulls were the first obstacle in his way, and despite it being a preseason game, Latrell went all-in, rounding off Crawford's "Welcome to the NBA" moment.

When I was guarding him in the game, I didn't have a chance. He seized you up and then he gone. That first step and he's out. I felt I was on an island, like all the way by myself. I already don't play defense like that; I really felt like I was on an island.

Jamal Crawford, Knuckleheads

There are no box scores available online, and JC didn't reveal how many points Sprewell scored on him that night. But it must've been as ugly as a preseason game can get. It sure was as ugly as an NBA debut can get for a 20-year-old rookie.

Want to stay up to date with the latest news and reactions?Download our NBA news feed for breaking news, live stats, and game coverage.

Isiah Thomas & Karl Malone

Isiah Thomas opens up about a surprising phone call he received from Karl Malone - "He almost started crying on the phone"

Isiah Thomas shares what happened when he got a surprising call from Karl Malone, who wanted to apologize for an incident that happened 30 years ago between the two legends

New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson

"Then what happens? They’re gonna consider him a bust" — Vince Carter gave Zion Williamson helpful advice

Like Zion, Carter was also branded as primarily a dunker when he entered the league and everybody expected him to throw it down all the time.

Stone Cold Steve Austin celebrates with beer during WrestleMania in 2022 and LeBron James with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2009

"I've forgotten so many things but I remember that vividly" — Steve Austin on LeBron James taking photos of him via flip phone

Stone Cold didn't need to check his social media or the internet as he vividly remembers the King's support.

Michael Jordan in 2022 at the NBA 75th Anniversary Team induction ceremony

“You're a loser! You've always been a loser!” - how Michael Jordan trash-talked his teammate into retirement

When MJ said he doesn't care, he really meant it - even if his teammate once retired because of his cruel trash talk.

Kerry Kittles in 2021 at a Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame press conference.

"Mostly they’re talking about scoring and scoring" — Kerry Kittles on today's NBA

Kerry Kittles doesn't like the lack of defense in today's game but admittedly would've loved to play in this era.

Former Kansas Jayhawks player Scot Pollard

“It’s a common expression here” - Scot Pollard revealed the code the Sacramento Kings used for too much dribbling

As it turned out, every single player on "The Greatest Show on the Court" Kings was about team basketball.