In basketball, a floater is the name of a popular shot used to overcome taller defenders. But for rap artist Devin McCoy and professional basketball player Henry Sims, the meaning is twofold.

The duo chose to call their podcast “The Floaters” to represent their ability to adapt in any environment. McCoy, 30, and Sims, 32, started the venture in the summer of 2022 to highlight individuals who may not be the most recognizable to the public, but have a hand in shaping the creative culture.

Some of their favorite guests have included actress-writer Nicolette Ellis, professional basketball player Damion Lee and film director Dennis Williams II, but they’ve also hosted musicians, clothing brand owners and others for candid, comfortable conversations. “We’re relatively small in the media lane and we’re trying to get our shot in this over the bigger, more established media platforms,” McCoy said.

McCoy and Sims are like family. Sims, who was a teammate on the basketball team at Mount Saint Joseph High School in Baltimore with McCoy’s older brother, Justin, always saw McCoy as a younger brother, too. Sims insisted on maintaining contact with McCoy after graduating, and McCoy would frequently visit Sims throughout the latter’s tenure at Georgetown University and during his years in the NBA and its developmental league. But their connection was deeper than sports.

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In 2014, “My brother told me to come to one of [Sims’] Sixers games to get me out of the house during a real dark time in my life,” McCoy recalled. “After the game, Henry was just letting me know he’s been through similar things and just was giving me reassurance that everything was going to work out. I feel like that’s the moment that really got me out of that hard period and ever since then, I would always look to him for advice.”

Sims and McCoy sort through the merchandise they sell at functions they produce or host in their event space. (Paul Newson/The Baltimore Banner)

Both entrepreneurs developed the skills for “The Floaters” in their own way in the intervening years. McCoy sharpened his tools as a rapper and videographer while attending Hampton University and Howard Community College before transferring to Morgan State University and graduating with a degree in multiplatform production. Inspired by McCoy’s creative ambitions, Sims started to branch out from basketball and try other things, like producing music.

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“I love the game of basketball. It gave me everything that I have and whatever I got coming to me in the future is probably because of this game, but I don’t want that to just be my story,” said Sims, who has had stints on teams such as the Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets. “Even in the game of basketball, I’m a versatile player. I can shoot, dribble, defend. I can do a lot of things and I want to translate that into my everyday life. I don’t ever want to feel uncomfortable in any position in my life.”

McCoy and Sims want to expand “The Floaters” to more than just a podcast and turn it into a media platform. Sims said people like Sean Combs, Westside Gunn, Drake and the late Nipsey Hussle are the types of moguls he looks up to — specifically their ability to make their brands bigger than just music.

McCoy, left, and Sims are hoping to grow their podcast and create a media platform. (Paul Newson/The Baltimore Banner)

One of the first steps McCoy and Sims took to expand their own influence was hosting an art exhibition last month with the help of their assistant, Breyah Burriss, and marketing strategist, Re’Neicia Johnson.

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“The art exhibit project was truly a great experience,” Johnson said. Works by artists from Baltimore, Mississippi and the United Kingdom were displayed in the duo’s Little Italy event space, which doubles as the suite where they record their podcast. “We planned it in two months and it took a lot of work, but having such a great team like them made a big difference,” Johnson said. “Plus, Devin’s creative ability to put out quality content was very beneficial to the project.”

Sims and McCoy hope to make the exhibition annual, and are also planning events like open mic nights and listening parties. “I want ‘The Floaters’ to be a movement,” Sims said. “We’re going to make sure everything we have coming is palatable to a lot of different people instead of just one group.”

Being able to reach beyond Maryland is also part of the goal. When McCoy was younger, he said he “could turn on my TV and I could see Henry or [other basketball players from his area like] Eric Atkins or Damion Lee. I see these people that I know on my TV screen and it showed me that could be my reality, too. That hope is what drove me here.”

Taji Burris has covered the Baltimore music scene since 2015 for outlets such as The Working Title and The 4th Quarter, and now at the Baltimore Banner.

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