North Carolina Central men’s basketball coach LeVelle Moton showed off his moves in a video that now has a life of its own in the viral universe.
Sunday evening during the 2017 BET Awards, the group New Edition was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award. The six-member group originated in Boston, Massachusetts, Moton’s hometown. Even though the members are a little older than Moton, they all grew up in the Orchard Park housing projects.
Moton got to know the group later in life and today considers the members some of his closest friends. Known for their choreography and precise dance moves, the video routine for their hit single “If It Isn’t Love” is one of their toughest, and most popular routines. Not a problem for Moton.
Months ago Moton, who led the Eagles to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in 2017, posted a video to his personal Instagram page. The video for “If It Isn’t Love” is on a big screen. Moton has his back to the video screen and is facing the camera. As the music starts and the video rolls, Moton jumps right into the routine with the group, almost as if he is a sixth member. During the awards show, Moton posted the same video to his Twitter page. The song came out in 1988, but Moton had been doing New Edition routines long before that.
“I know every routine to every song they’ve done,” Moton said. “From the front to the back. It’s muscle memory, you never forget the steps.”
In his book, “The Worst Times Are The Best Times” Moton dedicated an entire chapter to New Edition and how they inspired him to want to get out of Orchard Park. When he was a student at Enloe High School in Raleigh, Moton started his own group and would do local talent shows, always doing songs by New Edition, and performing their routines, step for step.
Whenever the group is on tour and comes to North Carolina, Moton attends. Moton also posted a picture on his Instagram account from New Edition’s rehearsal for the BET Awards. In the photo Moton points out that group member Michael Bivins is wearing a N.C. Central shirt. Moton recently attended a rehearsal, invited by New Edition’s choreographer Brooke Payne (Moton named his daughter after Payne), who needed Moton’s help at times to remind him what steps came next.
“I was like the assistant,” Moton said. “It’s crazy that they’ve been doing it so long I could just join in with them. I’ve done that routine a million times in my head, so I can do it at the drop of a time.”
N.C. Central fans or observers shouldn’t be shocked to see Moton showing off his skills on video.
“People are surprised, they think ‘that’s the coach from Central,’ ” Moton said. “But it’s not the coach from North Carolina Central doing the dance, it’s the kid from Orchard Park that’s doing it, who just happens to be the coach from North Carolina Central.”
Durham native 9th Wonder, a music producer and close friend of Moton, posted the video on his Instagram page with the caption “Find me another D-1 coach that can do this.”
The original video of Moton doing the dance was posted months ago, so what made him bring it back out Sunday night?
“I was bored,” he admitted. “When you’re 43 there are certain groups you look forward to seeing. I think BET knew to make everyone tune in they would put New Edition last. I got bored and thought ‘let me give you all this edition of New Edition.’ ”
Moton has led his team to the Big Dance twice, but he has proved he has some fancy dance moves of his own.