Height/Weight: 5-10" / 165 lbs.
Age: 23 y.o.
Hometown: Chicago, IL
As the youngest player on the Rockdogs, Mike is a truly gifted basketball player with pro-ball aspirations. Robbed of the chance to play college ball, Mike is determined to prove his skills so he can get the attention of scouts, in the U.S. or abroad, focusing his sights first on the European Pro teams. With astonishing quickness, scoring and lea... Read Full Bio
Francis brings some of the guys to Glide Memorial Church for inspiration, before heading to the National Gay Basketball Championships in Chicago. The Rockdogs fall into chaos when star guard DeMarco comes down with the flu and Simon, Jamel, and others get sick after arriving in Chicago. Coach Alex and Papa Joe come to the rescue, but with six games to play in two day the Rockdogs' legacy is at stake! Will this new generation of Rockdogs step-up in time to bring home the National Championship?
Former NBA pro and life-coach John Amaechi returns to check-in on the Rockdogs as the Chicago National Gay Basketball Championships near and notices that the team is still disorganized. In an attempt to promote greater team (and family) unity, Coach Alex and Papa Joe arrange a reunion game between the original ("Old Dogs") and new Rockdogs. Afterwards, the three-generations of Rockdogs are immersed in an emotionally charged dinner at the training house, where "Old Dogs" share the history and legacy of the team.
Just as the Rockdogs find themselves in desperate need of inspiration after their loss to ABA Rumble pro team, WNBA pro superstar Sheryl Swoopes surprises the guys with a visit. Swoopes lifts the Rockdogs' spirits by sharing her experiences on hoops, family, faith and coming out, and helps bring the team closer together. With hopes of proving Papa Joe wrong and raising enough money to get the team to the National Championships, Rory and Francis prepare for the fundraiser and prime the house for the boys to strut their stuff in sexy swimsuits and undergear.
With teammates hurling accusations about commitment and talent at each other, Jamel decides to miss practice before their monumental game against the pro San Francisco ABA team, the Rumble. At the tip-off, Coach Alex benches Jamel for missing practice and the Rockdogs rely on DeMarco to pull them through. Will Mike, DeMarco, Jamel, and the Rockdogs pull it together against the giant Rumble team, or will their pro dreams be smacked back to the sidelines?
Former and out NBA pro basketball player John Amaechi arrives to motivate the Rockdogs as they struggle to reach the National Gay Basketball Championships in Chicago. Back at the house, Amaechi talks to the team about their mission and importance as role models to future generations of gay athletes. Amaechi also helps the team console Mike when he admits that he has not yet out to his family and friends. At the team dinner, Rory presents a fundraising idea, which the Rockdogs support despite skepticism from others.
Meet the San Francisco Rockdogs - an all-star basketball team with a three-generation legacy of winning - and a new generation of talented athletes with big dreams. As they strive to reach another National Championship title five young players (Mike, Rory, Chris, Peter, and Jamel) are reunited under one roof by founder & coach Alex to live, love, laugh, and hopefully win again. The Rockdogs aren't even settled in before Jamel's shocking announcement and a challenging game against the San Francisco Fire Department team.
"Shirts & Skins" follows the true-life story of the San Francisco Rockdogs, a young all-star basketball team who must reunite to uphold their city's three-generation legacy of international gay games gold medal, and national tournament wins. After their last gold in 2006, the team fell apart, only to be rallied back together by their founders to defend their title at the upcoming National Gay Basketball Championship in Chicago. When the Rockdogs join together as family, they win. So will this new generation of talented players be able to put aside their interpersonal differences, love lives, and late night rumbles in time to get their game on and bring home the championship?
Height/Weight: 5-10" / 165 lbs.
Age: 23 y.o.
Hometown: Chicago, IL
As the youngest player on the Rockdogs, Mike is a truly gifted basketball player with pro-ball aspirations. Robbed of the chance to play college ball, Mike is determined to prove his skills so he can get the attention of scouts, in the U.S. or abroad, focusing his sights first on the European Pro teams. With astonishing quickness, scoring and leaping ability, and heart, Mike quickly established himself as the Rockdogs starting point guard. After graduating from Michigan State -- and with the encouragement of his teammates -- Mike made the move out to San Francisco to join the Rockdogs full-time.
Not yet out to his family and friends back home, Mike is readying for his next big move -- to live out and proud as an accomplished gay athlete at the highest level of competitive sport. With the support of veteran Rockdogs who have paved the way, Mike is ready to live life without regrets. Mike believes in the Law of Attraction: if you give out great things and positive energy, you will get that in return.
Height/Weight: 6-3" / 195 lbs.
Age: 29 y.o.
Occupation: Web Developer
As one of six accomplished, athletic brothers -- and son of a storied H.S. football coach -- Rory was raised in a tight-knit Mormon family who never stopped loving him throughout his coming out. Growing up in a small military town, this H.S. all-league basketball and football player, class president, straight-A student, and b.m.o.c ... seemed to have all the girls chasing him! His charisma and charm attract both sexes, but his good upbringing and big heart lead him to seek monogamy and romance.
Since joining the Rockdogs in 2002, Rory has found a home and surrogate family that has helped him excel in life and in sports. At the 2006 International Gay Games, he became the first gay athlete to win gold medals in both basketball and football. Other recent accolades include: All-offensive team at the 2007 National Gay Superbowl; and MVP of the New York Gay Football League in Fall 2007. Rory is committed to supporting the Rockdogs mission and his teammates as they set out to change the face of sports, and to provide a home for future generations of gay athletes and non-athletes alike. Propelled by his family's strong work-ethic, Rory is frustrated sometimes with the Rockdogs' lack of direction and teamwork.
With a dual degrees in computer science and business, Rory founded his own web development & marketing company. Along with creating websites for Fortune 500 clients, he combines his web programming skills, encyclopedic pop lyric knowledge, and passion for music to write and produce songs for all media. In between traveling to explore new countries and cultures overseas, Rory loves cooking dinner for friends, and reading his favorite fantasy books.
Height/Weight: 5-11" / 180 lbs.
Age: 30 y.o.
Hometown: Evansville, IN
Occupation: Former ABA pro basketball player turned model/actor/speaker
From humble and tumultuous beginnings in Evansville, Indiana... to flying high as captain of the gold-medal winning S.F. Rockdogs at the 2006 Chicago Gay Games, DeMarco is the face of a new generation of young, gay, and increasingly out athletes. After winning gold, DeMarco went on to become the first pro-mens basketball player (ABA) to come out while still playing, and was recently selected to the Out 100. He is an intense, driven, impassioned playmaker whose sharp mind, adonis body, midwest morals, and preacher personality defy stereotypes, and sometimes come into conflict. Born to lead, DeMarco's return to the team is key to restoring the Rockdogs' legacy. Now he and his cousin Jay must find a way to resolve their beef and leadership differences... for the good of their family... and their team's future.
Position: Shooting Guard
Height/Weight: 6-1" / 185 lbs.
Age: 28 y.o.
Hometown: South Bend, IN
Occupation: Medical Assistant
Raised by a BIG family -- siblings, parents, and grandparents -- Nurse Chris embodies the big heart and nurturing family aspect of the Rockdogs. Part peacemaker, diplomat, comedian, and den mother, Chris is committed to bringing the Rockdogs back together, as family, and as gold-medal winning competitors.
Like many of the Rockdogs past and present, Chris is keenly aware of the Rockdogs' legacy, and the team's ability to inspire future generations of gay men and athletes who seek positive, stereotype-busting role models in sports, and in life. Chris is on a mission. While he continues his training to become a Radiation Therapist, Chris is helping raise his kid-brother Matteo, who at age 6 is already showing signs of Chris' big heart and basketball skills.
Though he's currently dating a special guy from the UK who looks great in a kilt, Chris is never one to shy way from a friendly "How You Durring!"
Position: Forward / Center
Height/Weight: 6-5" / 185 lbs.
Age: 29 y.o.
Originally from: Connecticut
Peter is a handsome, hard-working, east-coast transplant who like many of the Rockdogs before him, found his way to their home gym in San Francisco seeking an outlet and support network for gay athletes who may think there's no one else like them in the world. Joining the Rockdogs in the spring of 2006, he plays back-up center and power forward to one of the best front courts (Jamel, Mike, DeMarco, Chris) the game has seen. Unlike some of his teammates, though, Peter looks at basketball as a hobby, not a career. His passion and priority is teaching.
An accomplished teacher, Peter has taught in the public school systems of Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Virginia, and California. While teaching in a conservative school district in Virginia, he was asked to resign when it was discovered he was gay, despite his students' consistently high test scores. He found himself driving cross-country in the summer of 2005 to seek a friendlier climate in California, hoping to find more enlightened parents and students in his quest to revolutionize secondary education with his passionate and inspired teaching style. For the last three years, Peter has taught social studies to an incredible group of 5th and 6th graders in San Francisco. He has helped his school gain local and national attention as the highest performing public school in the city, and as one of the top fifty charter schools in the nation!
Position: Swing Man
Height/Weight: 6-4" / 215 lbs.
Age: 24 y.o.
Hometown: Minden, LA
Nickname: Mel a.k.a. Jamonce'
A new generation of Rockdogs has arrived, and Jamel Lewis is leading the charge with vanguard style. Since joining the Rockdogs in 2005, Jamel has brought a new level of game to the Rockdogs, on and off the court. Recognized as one of the top high school basketball players in the nation, Jamel -- like his homey Mike -- has pro-ball dreams and the skills to match. For Jamel, all things are possible, as he mixes youthful idealism, gospel inspiration, and a street-slang all his own to create his authentic and much-loved flavor. With his big personality and improvisational humor, Jamel (a.k.a. Jamonce') is a one-man variety show and life-of-the-party, whose unique expressions and quick come-backs have helped create a team language known as RockTalk. Not to mention, the man can dance. Seriously.
With all his charisma, Jamel throws the team off-guard when he comes back after a family stay to declare that being gay is a choice, and that he just isn't feeling it anymore. For his teammates who have struggled with reconciling faith, family, and sexuality, this is hard news to hear, and a disconnect from the Jamel they thought they new. It will take his own deep and abiding faith, support of the Rockdogs surrogate family, and mentoring from the likes of former NBA pro John Amaechi and NFL pro Esera Tuaolo... as Jamel seeks answers to living, loving, and growing authentically.
Position: Coach and Founding Rockdog
Age: 44 y.o.
Hometown: Wilmington, CA
Occupation: University Student (UNLV Singapore Campus)
Lx is the coach and founder of the Rockdogs and always keeps his eyes on the prize. As a player he was a fierce competitor on the court, and not surprisingly, he is one of only five guys in gay basketball to hold two Gay Games gold medals, with wins in Amsterdam (1998), and Chicago (2006). Committed to bringing up the next generation of gay athletes, Lx is reuniting the Rockdogs family in San Francisco to train for the National Gay Basketball Championship in Chicago, hoping to pass the torch to new leadership along the way.
Looking to the future, Lx and his partner, Geoff, are relocating to Singapore where Alex will turn his dedication and focus to his education, as well as to inspiring his classmates to get on the court. His passion for basketball is limitless, so no one will be surprised if a new team of winners emerges from the Far East! Lx is very outgoing and develops strong friendships with players and non-players alike. His soul food cooking is famous among his teammates, and plans for a Mexican Soul Food restaurant are in the works... so keep a look out for "Nacho Mama's!"
Position: Team Manager (boy, what an oxymoron!)
Age: 43 y.o.
Hometown: San Francisco Bay Area
Occupation: Operations, Life Sciences/Health Care
Nickname: Papa Joe
A lifelong resident of the Bay Area, 2008 marks Papa Joe's 20th anniversary of gay basketball participation, as he was a member of the original Rockdogs team, winning in Boston in 1995. He rejoined the team in December 2005 on the run to the 2006 Gold Medal at the Chicago Gay Games. It's important to note that Joe has very limited skills on the court -- he can't run, can't jump, can't guard quick, fast or big guys and tires easily. What he brings to the team is debatable, but he brings it. He is known for being an a--hole, and his loud, foul mouth justifies the title. To his credit and in the best interests of the team, he has not logged one minute on the court since his return to the Dogs (thankfully). Joe is one of the Old Dogs... a very proud elder(ly) Dog, who believes strongly that the Rockdogs are not just a team, but a family. It is his hope that this team, this family, the Rockdogs -- and all of our brothers and sisters in Gay Basketball -- can make a difference in our community and in society.
Socially, he eats too much, swears too often, laughs too loud, makes inappropriate comments at inappropriate times -- he's made, and lost, many friends as a result of his mouth -- and many times you can find him on a barstool. He drinks too much...life is short, play hard. Joe shares a loft with his partner, Harrold and their perfect little pug, Bo, in San Francisco.
Professionally, Joe works in operations for a life sciences company developing drugs for HIV and hepatitis C, and he serves on the Conant Foundation, which seeks to educate, advocate, research and find treatments for HIV and its manifestations. It is his dream, that one day, our civilization will cure HIV infection and develop a vaccine to prevent it from ever infecting another human being.