Basabe brings 'Slime Movement' to Iowa City
Melsahn Basabe hears or sees it nearly everywhere.
He hears it on the bus. He hears it while walking to class. He'll read it in a reply on Twitter. He sees it on signs at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The Iowa sophomore forward brought what he calls "The Slime Movement" from his hometown of Glen Cove, N.Y., to Iowa City when he arrived in 2010. Just as he surprised and took Big Ten courts by storm as a freshman, "slime" commandeered the campus vernacular.
At its essence, "slime" is another word for friend. Basabe said people in New York commonly use the phrase.
"When I interact with people, I just try to give them the East Coast flavor," the 19-year-old said, beaming. "It's just good — when I meet people — to inflect my personality on them. People seem to enjoy it, and I enjoy being in this environment."
Basabe never thought much of the lingo until coming to Iowa, where he discovered most hadn't heard it before. The number of people who enjoyed the phrase and began utilizing it themselves pleasantly surprised him.
"I'm so used to it," he said. "A lot of people think it's amusing."
Those amused included Basabe's sophomore teammate Devyn Marble, who hails from Southfield, Mich. While other Hawkeyes picked up on it, too, Basabe's "East Coast" chatter permeated Marble's vocabulary more than anyone else. Because the two have lived together for the past two years and have grown closer, "slime" and "slime time" became "their thing," senior Bryce Cartwright said.
"They're the ones who say it the most."
"It's rubbed off on [Marble] a lot," Basabe said. "You would think he's from New York, the way he talks to people."
Even coach Fran McCaffery took notice after a tweet Marble once sent around 3 a.m. The team ran through an early practice later that day.
Neither Marble nor Basabe could resist laughter while trying to recount the story.
"Coach was like, 'So Dev, how much sleep did you get last night?' " Basabe said. "And Dev was like, 'Huh?' Coach was like, 'I saw you were asking all your slimes to hit you up, slimes holla at me.' "
Their shared diction helped build camaraderie, both as teammates and friends. But the pair didn't expect it to gain such popularity with others.
"We both kind of just carried it on — that was just us having fun," Marble said with a grin. "We never thought it would turn into this … It's just become a big thing on campus, I guess."
Now, the "Slime Movement" seems to follow Basabe anywhere people recognize him.
"Even a lot of people in the streets, when they see me, they say stuff they see on my Twitter. I think it's funny," he said. "I'm on the bus or something, and somebody will scream, 'Slime. Slime.' Football players or random students, anyone who knows of me, and I'll yell, 'Slime,' or 'Slime Time.'"
Basabe never thought something as simple as everyday language could connect and endear him to so many people.
"I don't even know who they are. People on Twitter say it to me, I don't even know who they are," he said. "But it's all love, because they're fans."
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