Samir Hill, a 21-year-old 5'7" point guard for Allegany College of Maryland, was just looking for some casual pick-up basketball action on a sunny West Philadelphia day. Home from college, he headed out to the courts with his friends to play with some local kids. Instead of another regular game of ball, however, he ended up squaring off against two Philadelphia police officers. He dropped both of them on the court with Vine-ready moves, and videos of the incident have gone viral since. We talked to Samir over the phone earlier this afternoon for the full story of the most impactful game of basketball to come out of Philadelphia since the 76ers last made the playoffs.
When and where did the game take place?
Last week, in West Philadelphia, out on 56th and Lansdowne. I grew up in the neighborhood.
How’d you end up playing basketball against two cops?
We were in the playground. I was playing with some little kids. When I come home from college, I go on the playground and play with the kids a little bit. We were playing some 2 on 2, so I guess [the two cops] didn’t think I was that good. They came in the playground, just watching. They say, “None of you look good out there.”
So the cops started talking smack?
They started talking trash. I’m like, “Come get on the court.” They’re talking about, “We only play for money.” I say, “How much money y’all want to play for?” One of the cops was like, “How much you wanna play for?” I say, “Matter of fact, we can play for one. Game to one.”
We gave them ball first. I was playing on the court 2 on 2 with my friend Josh—they almost scored on him! [Male background voice: “Shut the fuck up.”] We get the ball, and everybody starts pulling out their cameras. The first cop, I crossed him and laid it up.
A video posted by PROFESSIONAL ART WORK🔘 (@shallo_tattoo_kiing) on Apr 1, 2015 at 6:07pm PDT
He’s like, “I don’t play basketball, I play football.” So he put his partner on me—the second one, the one I made fall. Everyone went crazy.
A video posted by PROFESSIONAL ART WORK🔘 (@shallo_tattoo_kiing) on Apr 1, 2015 at 6:21pm PDT
Did you know those two cops beforehand?
I saw them the day before when I went to the store right across from my house. They’re always around the neighborhood.
Did you get their names at all?
Nah, I don’t know their names.
What’d the cop say or do to you afterwards?
After the video—actually, two days ago, they were trying to arrest me.
When you cross a cop over you got deal with shit like this smh same cops I cross try book a nigga today smh pic.twitter.com/16YvDd6pzk— LoveAlways (@Bub_56st) April 4, 2015
I saw you post a video that appeared to show you and a friend in handcuffs, “all because of basketball.” What happened there?
I think it was because of the video, but they said it was the people I was around. I don’t think it was that though, cause most of the kids I hang around are college kids. I think they just wanted to take me down to the district to show who I was.
Did they arrest you?
They didn’t arrest me for nothing. They were talking about how they thought they saw something. I was just down there [at the police station] for an hour and a half, then they let me go.
They didn’t explain to you why they took you down?
No, they didn’t explain it to me. They just took me in there, handcuffed me to a bench for an hour and a half. They were doing a search on the car. They searched the car for like an hour. They didn’t find nothing, and they let me go. The whole time they were telling me how they weren’t gonna lock me up, that they were targeting my friend.
So your friend was in trouble, and you just happened to be riding in a car with him.
What’s the attention been like? Chad Johnson posted the video, and we made a whole post about it.
I was shocked. My friends sent it all to me. I go mention Chad Johnson on Twitter like, “I’m the kid who crossed him up!” He followed me on Instagram and everything. I got like a million phone calls.
What was the reaction like around the neighborhood once the clip started spreading?
I can’t even walk anywhere without people saying stuff to me, man! Everybody knew I was good, but now they’re like, “Yo, you crossed a cop!” People I’ve never spoken to before are stopping me. It’s crazy.
Who are you like on the court?
I’m like James Harden. Nobody can stop me. [Same male background voice: “He ain’t no James Harden.”]
Would you take the cops again in a rematch?
We were supposed to rematch them the next day at 3 o’clock, but they never came back around. I was at the courts and everything. There were a lot of people out there too! They said they were bringing their basketball stuff, but they never showed up.
I don’t wanna play them anymore though. There’s no point. I did what I had to do to them.