YouTube Baby

YouTube Baby

A tenacious father uses calculated online marketing strategies to push his young son into basketball fame. (ESPN)

When his son began dribbling basketballs at age two, Chikosi Walker realized he might have a future hoops star in the family. Several years later Walker connected with basketball trainer Lamont Peterson in hopes of helping promote his son’s career.

And so began a calculated Internet-driven marketing plan to send Marquise to college on a basketball scholarship. Walker began posting YouTube videos of his son playing ball and mixing with basketball pros such as Dee Brown, Shawn Marion, Luther Head and ultimately NBA superstar LeBron James.

At age five his father called him “the player the scouts have dubbed the top kindergarten prospect in the country,” and his fame caught on. Marquise performed at halftime Memphis Grizzlies and Chicago Sky games and there were calls from the Ellen DeGeneres and Jay Leno shows.

ESPN caught up with Marquise at age eight to make this video. While young Marquise doesn’t seem quite sure about what’s hit him, his father is determined to see his son find fame.

Online Journalist Awards finalist for Online Video Journalism, Large Site, Online News Association.


Length: 10:00

Video by Steve Guyot
Photos by Ross Dettman
Story by Wayne Drehs