GLOUCESTER — Devin Robinette needed a hobby as a child. After moving multiple times, making friends was a challenge, so he turned to the basketball hoop and never looked back.
Robinette, a freestyle basketball player, discovered trick shots on YouTube and thought he might be able to learn some of them. As he started, he found a desire and drive to learn as much as possible.
“I knew I wanted to pick up a new hobby. I would watch YouTube and I saw a bunch of videos of the Harlem Globetrotters. These teams would travel the world and do a bunch of basketball tricks. As I was watching them, I thought that it would be really cool to do,” Robinette said.
Having time after school and not much to do, Robinette began teaching himself various performing tricks.
“Every day after school, I’d go out and practice in my driveway. I always loved basketball, and anyone can go out and shoot a basketball and dribble. I really wanted to do something that stood out and make an impact on someone. Not everyone can do these trick shots, which is what sets me apart,” Robinette said.
After hours of practice, his first performance opportunity came when his show choir director encouraged him to do some trick shots while the choir sang behind him.
“Our high school show choir at church traveled across the state once a summer. I showed the choreography leader my basketball tricks and they were very impressed by it. They told me that for a couple of the songs, I should get up in front of the whole choir and perform at our venues on the tour. As soon as they said the word perform, I had never really given it a thought. I always thought it was something I could do in the driveway at home for good exercise,” Robinette said.
After that first performance in 2016, he was hooked on the adrenaline rush that only performing can provide.
“When someone tells you that they believe in you and that you can go places with your talent, that really helps your confidence,” Robinette said. “In 2017, I really began to post more on social media and get my presence out there. That’s when people from around the world who did freestyle basketball started reaching out to me.”
Robinette began performing at family birthday parties. He has since started working on establishing his own business. He is also a member of the National Basketball Freestyle Association.
Robinette tries not to take himself too seriously on his freestyle basketball journey and he practices as often as he can. He has hopes to one day perform at an NCAA or NBA halftime show.
He takes being a role model very seriously to all those who watch his videos. He’s often asked for advice on how to get started as a freestyle basketball player.
“It’s all about what you come up with and what you want it to be. This sport takes time and will frustrate you. This is a time-consuming process. Whatever you do in life, you need to be patient and have confidence in yourself,” Robinette said.
For more information on Robinette and his freestyle basketball journey, follow his official Facebook page.