Lowriders come from all different types of professions, and one of the greatest things about our culture is that you never know who might just be a die-hard Boulevard scraper. It could be your doctor, your child’s teacher, even a police officer; you just never know who might be holding the keys to the baddest Lowrider on the block. Take the case of NBA great Cedric Ceballos, for example. Yes, that’s right; the former L.A. Lakers and Phoenix Suns legend has been involved in the culture for years. Who would’ve thought that one of the NBA’s highest flyers would prefer being as low to the ground as possible?
The man behind the smooth moves on the court grew up in Los Angeles after being born in Maui. A young Cedric was naturally drawn to the culture of Lowriding, which surrounded him in the neighborhood he grew up in. Long before he was headed to the rim, he was headed to school in Compton, and many of his school trips and growing experiences were inundated with the Lowriding phenomenon. He fondly remembers seeing rides cruise the streets of Crenshaw, Westwood, and Hollywood Boulevard; doing laps, hopping, and just enjoying a Sunday afternoon, Lowrider style. As he grew up and moved on, the love for Lowriders stayed with him; even after he became a small forward in the NBA.
With a talent for basketball, Cedric’s mother was instrumental in ensuring a College Education would be in her son’s future and she worked tirelessly to make that happen. He attended Ventura College and then went to Cal State Fullerton. His talent drew the presence of NBA scouts, a rarity at Cal State Fullerton and his NBA dream culminated when he was drafted in 1990 by the Phoenix Suns. This would not be his only stop in the league; Cedric’s well-rounded abilities as a scorer and passer earned him the right to play with a total of five NBA teams throughout his career. Cedric wore jerseys for the Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons and the Miami Heat before beginning another career in Europe. After playing professional basketball overseas, he took his career full circle and is now back in Phoenix with the organization that started it all for him as an NBA player. Cedric always stayed true to his West Coast roots, earning an All-Star spot after leading the Lakers in scoring, and he even recorded a hip-hop song, “Flow On” with iconic West Coast producer/rapper Warren G.
Cedric is one of the more versatile players ever to touch the hardwood and his career has been as exciting off the court as it has been on the court. With such a storied life, I asked Ceballos what he considered to be the three biggest highlights of his career. The first was of course the ‘92-93 finals playing Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. The second was when he won the NBA All-Star Dunk Contest… blindfolded! And his third highlight? Seeing his 1964 Impala Lowrider on the pages of Lowrider Magazine. “It’s true,” says Cedric with his trademark smile. “Ever since I picked up my first issue, I dreamt of seeing my ride in the magazine I grew up with. Lowrider is one of my favorite magazines of all time,” he says with pride. A consummate teammate, he is just as proud of his Intruders Car Club plaque as he is with any of the number 23 jerseys he wore throughout his NBA career. Since he is so well rooted in Lowrider culture, he understands what it means to share the same plaque as the other members of The Intruders Car Club of Phoenix.
The Intruders are one of Phoenix’ largest and most respected car clubs and Cedric flies his club colors in his ’64 for all the world to see. Long time friend and fellow club member, Jojo, thinks it’s very cool to have Cedric in the club. He says with a laugh that other than being the only member who is 6’6,” Cedric blends in well with the club’s positive attitude and desire to spread the Lowrider culture throughout the Four Corners area. He’s not some celebrity who keeps his car in the garage, either. Cedric and his family are very active in club meetings, picnics, shows, and gatherings.
Most NBA players take that first contract check to the Mercedes dealership or to the Ferrari dealership, but not Cedric. While he has owned those rides, his first car of choice was a 1964 Impala Hardtop, which he purchased on the same day he found out he was going to have his first child. He named the car “Nu Nu” after his new little girl.
Cedric’s air-bagged ‘64 Impala is powered by a 350 v8 built by The Car Shop out of Carson, California, painted by Gilbert Royce, of Royce of London in LA, with an interior by Thomas Top in Hollywood. Still, this ride is all Intruders Car Club of Phoenix. Cedric wishes to thank his Car Club and family for their support, his very good friend Jojo of Jo Jo’s Detailing and a very special thanks to Brian Hollins and the Hollins family.