DJ Irie on Irie Weekend, Teaching Shaq to Spin, and LeBron James' Future
Saying you're a "DJ" is a lot like saying, "I am in PR." It's an overused phrase, and usually not taken that seriously. Unless, of course, "DJ" is followed by "Irie." When you say you're DJ Irie, it's a lot like saying, "I am the President." It's immediately recognized and respected. When it comes to Irie, there is just one.
Photo by Gary James DJ Irie
The music man, whose real name is Ian Grocher, is the NBA's first DJ, being hired by the Miami Heat for the 1999-2000 season. Ever since, his life has essentially been 365 days of nonstop madness. From residencies at LIV to being flown by Robert Downey Jr. to spin soirees at his home, Irie's Miami casa sees very little of him. And yeah, that is how he likes it.
So before he hopped on a plane to go to NYC for just six hours to play an event, he gave us 30 minutes of his time. (Hey, we felt honored. Time is not something he has much of.) We talked about his famous Irie Weekend that starts today, the Shaq rumor, and whether he thinks LeBron will be back for the 2014-2015 season. (Good news Heat fans -- he does.)
New Times: I hear that you are going to be in New York for just six hours tonight.
DJ Irie: Yep. Just hop on a plane to rock out a little bit.
How long ago did you give up on the idea of sleeping?
(Laughs) I gave that up probably about six or seven years ago. I really did change my thought process. I would think, "Well I have to do X, Y and Z. But maybe I can't do Z because I have to sleep." After a while, I just cut out the idea of having a normal sleeping pattern. That went out of the door. I have stuff to do.
Math time: If you had a dollar for every time someone asked you for Heat tickets, how many dollars would you have?
(Laughs) Just in the last four years, I would say probably about $2 million dollars.
Not Oprah rich?
It's not even the ask. I don't mind at all during regular season. I mean, I have access to them, why not? But it's the bold ask. The one that makes me say "wow." I have had people ask like its not a big deal, "I'll be in town for the Knicks game. Two tickets. Floor, please. Parking pass while you're at it. That would be great." Or, "I am getting off work early. Can I get two finals tickets?" It's amazing.
You just finished up your 14th season with the Miami Heat as their resident DJ. Still love your job?
Absolutely. Where else can anyone bring in the three things they're passionate about night in and night out? And get paid for it. I love the game of basketball, music, and Heat games. I am really lucky.
Thursday kicks off the 10th Anniversary of Irie Weekend. How did this all get started?
Going back to '05, I was doing a lot of work with Alonzo Mourning, Jason Taylor, you name it. I was getting exposed to some of the issues that were happening to our inner city, at-risk youth. There were some areas that had no resources and I thought to myself, "maybe I am in a position to help." I can call in all the favors I have and get these guys to help me. From there, Dave Grutman got involved.