Eleven years after the fact, Mateen Cleaves' legacy as the centerpiece of the 2000 Michigan State National Championship team remains intact. Though some would argue that legacy has been tarnished by a number of incidents similar to Wednesday's, when Cleaves was pulled over for speeding, and cited for driving with a suspended license. Cleaves was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving, also in Mt. Morris Township, in March of 2010.
But for many, Mateen Cleaves is still held in very high regard.
"I actually met him on a few occasions," said Flint native Kenn Hopkins. "I played for Northern High School, football. He actually got us new jerseys and a scoreboard. So, my heart always goes out to him. He got pulled over, I got pulled over many times. So, I just think it's irrelevant to him as a person."
And while Mateen's missteps don't go ignored in Flint, in no way do they overshadow what he has meant for his hometown.
"What he's accomplished has been huge for Flint, there's so much negativity," said fellow Flint native Aaron Jackson. "But the things he's done in the past (have) brought a good light on Flint. So like I said, just hope he learns from his mistakes and keeps moving on, keeps progressing."
Occasional negative press for Cleaves has not diminished some inspirational words he's delivered over the years, including these...
"It's easy to do the work when you want to do it, but the great ones do it when they don't feel like doing it," said Hopkins. "I remember that, it was clever. And I appreciate the jerseys, I think they still play in them now. So, Mateen Cleaves, you're good in my book."