True East: The Unbreakable Story of Zered Bassett

Zered Bassett’s tenure as a central figure of East Coast skateboarding spans generations. In many ways, he represents the bridge between the old New York and the new. The fact that he has endured longer than many of the brands that he’s been associated with is a testament to his dedication to his craft, and shows a resiliency that mirrors the streets where he honed it.

Originally from Cape Cod, Zered was a child prodigy who was discovered at an Invisible demo in Massachusetts as a tween. This landed him on Sixteen, and later flow for World Industries. It was during this era that Brian Brown’s brother sent Zered’s tape to Zoo York, where it landed in the hands of Jeff Pang. He was offered a spot on the team, which was accepted after getting some solid advice from Jahmal Williams.

From there, Dr. Z made the move to the Big Apple, where he was molded into the legend that he would ultimately become under the tutelage of Harold Hunter, Danny Supa, Vinny Ponte, and the rest of the O.G. Zoo heads. His progression is well-documented in RB Umali’s E.S.T. video series, and culminated in Vicious Cycle, which is still considered by many to be his magnum opus.

Zered would ultimately spend a decade as a card-carrying member of the Zoo York Institute. During this time, he turned pro, received a signature shoe from DVS, and a sponsorship from Red Bull. In addition to becoming the face of New York’s next generation, he was easily in the top-tier tax bracket for professional skaters. This afforded him luxuries, including an apartment in the city and a Cadillac Escalade. But all that glitters is not gold. And the rapper’s lifestyle is rarely built to last.

By the end of the aughts, Zoo discontinued Zered’s contract; DVS released him from its roster; and Red Bull followed suit a few years later. He was on the verge of packing up, and moving back to Cape Cod. But the New York hustle sustained him via collaborative projects with UXA and Uniqlo before landing spots on the rosters at Expedition and Converse.

Currently, Zered is comfortably chilling as a pro for Alltimers, has a couple of signature Converse shoes under his belt, and is pursing his art and photography in Brooklyn. Lee covers all of the bases of Dr. Z’s legendary story during Episode 21 of Mission Statement.