FLY LIKE MIKE
Isaac White on mastering the dunk
Isaac White has been perfecting the art of the dunk for more than 10 years now, traveling to competitions all over the world from his home base in Houston, Texas.
For White, Jordan’s Gatorade commercials signaled an athlete who could transcend boundaries and – literally and figuratively – reach all heights. Below, White tells us about his love for the game and how he strives to Be Like Mike.
When did you start playing?
I started playing when I was about five. Walking probably miles to go and play basketball on different courts. Because my neighborhood was kind of bad and there was a lot of gambling and violence at the courts, so I’d just go to different places around the neighborhood and learn moves from different players.
You cleared 18 shoeboxes dunking in this video! How long has it taken you to reach that distance over the years?
It gradually went up probably about a half a foot each year since I’ve been trying it, because the first person I ever jumped over was probably about 5’6″, 5’7″, but it wasn’t too hard to do it. After that, the people just started getting taller, the obstacles started getting taller, I started jumping over. The obstacles started getting taller and I started doing more Gatorade coolers, and then it got to seven foot 10th graders.
What’s key to being a top dunker?
It’s practice. You’ve gotta be constant in what you’re doing. A lot of people can say they can do it, but how many times can you do it in a row? So, if you could just get the constant repetition up and get comfortable doing any dunk, even just basic basketball moves, it’s just the repetitiveness.
When did you first realize that you had a talent for the game?
Eighth grade was the first year I ever dunked a basketball. It was probably the highlight of my life.
I had a friend that was probably about 6’4″, 6’5″ in the eighth grade. He was dunking easy because he had the height. I was about 5’6″, 5’7″. We were playing in a game. He had just dunked two plays before that, and I got a lead and block and it went straight to him. He was going on a fast break, and I was turning behind him. I called his name and I went for it and I made the dunk.
Ever since then it’s been dunk, dunk, dunk. I got so good at it, I was able to travel the world and get paid. I ended up playing for the Globetrotters and now I just do different dunk contests to feed my family.
What’s the most inspiring thing about street basketball at the moment for you?
Well it’s just the love. It seems like a lot of the players in the league, they get around a lot of the money and their game just slows down. When you’re playing street ball, everybody is putting their all into it. They want 100%, because they feel like they still have a chance to make it somewhere.