Getting with S.L.I.M.E.


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Melsahn Basabe didn’t give Hawkeye head coach Fran McCaffery much of an option. The 6-7, 220-pound senior grabbed the man he had followed more than 1,000 miles to Iowa City, pulled him into the center of the circle where his teammates were celebrating, and bear-hugged him from behind.

McCaffery, red in the face and laughing, jumped and turned around, embracing his senior as the rest of the team continued to celebrate.

It wasn’t just the night that Iowa had beaten then-No. 3 Ohio State in Columbus, or the night that Iowa earned its biggest win in the McCaffery era — at that moment, after Basabe’s double-double led the Hawkeyes to an 84-74 win, a brand was born.

One hundred forty-eight career blocks and 1,119 points — that’s the legacy that senior Melsahn Basabe will leave behind on the court in an Iowa basketball uniform, but it’s the launch of his new brand S.L.I.M.E. that may ultimately end up defining him as a person, a brand that stands for “Successful life involves maintaining excellence.”

“I became aware of how many people supported me, and I really appreciated that,” Basabe said. “… I wanted to give the people something.”

Slime was a nickname that Basabe adopted in his home neighborhood in Glen Clove, N.Y. The name stuck, and soon even Iowa fans were aware of phenomenon they so affectionately refer to as Slimetime. Now, Slime has a whole new meaning.

“Whatever you’re doing, you can do it at a high level and be successful, at whatever your passion is; art, music, there’s no limit to it,” he said. “That’s really what my message is because that’s what I live by.”

But Basabe doesn’t want his brand confused as a clothing brand. The former star of the Hawkeye hardwood wants to turn his brand into more than just merchandise by having summer camps and clinics.

“Whatever endeavor I take part in, I want S.L.I.M.E. to be it, that’s my brand,” he said. “That’s what I represent.”

Fellow student-athlete Kevonte Martin-Manley praised the decision for an athlete to brand himself post-college.

“I just think it’s a great way for student-athletes to take advantage of the legacy they worked so hard for through their own brand,” Martin-Manley said.

The neon shirt is the first, and currently the only, shirt Basabe is selling. It appeals largely to those who wear athletic clothing with its light, dry-fit material. The shirt is a limited edition.

“I know a lot of times we get that basic Ts, and you put them in the wash and they turn into another shirt that you didn’t even buy, two sizes too small, shrinks in length, triples in width,” he said. “… I didn’t want to sell something that I wouldn’t wear and that I wouldn’t be confident in.”

Off the court an inspiring entrepreneur, Basabe is also a young father. His 7-month-old daughter, Eva, he said, has simplified his life.

“I only worry about certain things, and my No. 1 priority is being daddy,” he said. “It also helps keep myself in check. Whatever I do reflects on her.”

S.L.I.M.E. isn’t just a way for Basabe to touch his fans and friends; his role as a father plays into it.

“She’s going to be a part of it,” he said. “I want to be able to show my daughter just a good work ethic and success … I want to show all my kids, in the future, that daddy built something.”

On April 11, Basabe signed with Arete Sports Agency. He believes there is much more basketball to look forward to.

“That’s what my coaches have been telling me, my agent has been telling me,” he said. “You never want to speak something until it happens, but I think I could have a very successful [professional] career wherever it takes me, and I’m training hard every day, working toward that.”

Basabe promises many surprises in the future, and he plans to have a website up in early May.

“Everybody is S.L.I.M.E. now,” he said. “I consider everybody that supports me to be S.L.I.M.E., the S.L.I.M.E. family.”

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