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This is a story about being different. People will laugh at you, but it’s okay. We will see who is laughing years later.
By the way, I can’t make this stuff up. Everything in this post is true lol..
So I’m laying down in bed, and just like any other person, I log onto instagram to see what’s going on. A post from Daquan pops up on my page and I couldn’t believe what I was watching. First of all I go on daquan’s page to laugh and be entertained, and on this night it exceeded my expectations….I was in shock. This is the video that popped up.
“NO WAY BRUH….” I knew exactly who this guy was, but I couldn’t have scrolled to the comment section any faster because I had to see what they were saying about him. “SOY SAUCE”, “MOST HANDLES IN CHINA”, “THIS DUDE IS NICE!!”. I was in the comment section for about 20 seconds before my stomach was in pain from laughing. His nick name in China is Helmet, He had a pretty solid following before, but this video low key was what began turning him into a legend…..lol but let me tell you my experience with this guy.
So if you’ve never heard of my youtube series (TEN000HOURS) I made an episode called “BACK TO ZERO” where I linked up with adidas in China and they took me on a small tour in China. Basically to save you a long explanation, we have an open run in each city and anyone is invited to come out and hoop. The best players travel with us , get geared up head to toe, eat with us, and get to play in the next city that we travel to. It’s a dream come true because not many people get to experience anything like this. The whole thing is inspired by the and 1 mixtape tours. So we go from Beijing, to Guangzhou, to Shanghai.
So my boy, whose english was a little broken at the time, was trying to communicate with me but I couldn’t quite understand him. So he proceeds to show me this video on his phone where there’s a guy playing a one on one in a motorcycle helmet.
Im like bruh what the heck is this….I’ve really seen it all now. But then again, I thought to myself, there’s over a billion people here, I guess it’s only natural for a person to try and find a way to standout here. Hoopin in a motorcycle helmet with a solid handle …..I guess that’ll do it lol. But I watched it, and didn’t think anything of it.
So basically we went through the open run in Shanghai and it was smooth. We picked up our five players and then got ready for a week of training.
So the first day of workouts (Ran by myself) arrive and as were pulling up to the park, I noticed this kid at the court dribbling. He was about 6’2, I don’t want to say he was heavy set, but he did have a lil bit of weight to him. But He had a handle lol. He was fully drenched in sweat, dribbling like crazy….but I wanted to see what that jumper looked like. He took his first shot, I want to say he bricked, but that would absolutely be an understatement. It looked like he was throwing a lob off the backboard to himself. Needless to say, I just ignored him after that.
So me and the guys are lining up to stretch, and the guy is standing on the baseline with us. I stopped everything and went over to my boy, “ yo who is this? He can’t just jump in the workout like this”, My friend replied , “O no he’s kind of like a …uh…special guest. He couldn’t make the open run yesterday because he was stuck in traffic.” I was about to say no, but lol I mean they call the shots, they’re the ones paying me so I just kept it pushing.
We go through and finish the workout, but man, the homie looked so bad. We were working on simple stuff too. But what really got me was when he asked to play me one on one after it was all over. You ever seen the last Avengers movie where Doctor Strange looks into the future and sees every possible outcome? That was how many responses I came up with in my head to say to him. But I stopped and just walked away before saying anything. So I go back to the guys in charge and before I got to say what was really on my mind, they told me what actually happened to him. So the story is this guy rode on his motorcycle for 4 hours to play one on one with me but got stuck in traffic (which is weird because he was on a motorcycle) and missed the whole event. I was about 2 seconds away from laughing before I put it together in my head. This was the guy who my boy showed me in that video. The one wearing the motorcycle helmet playing the 1 on 1. Come to find out, he rides his motorcycle everywhere for hours, shows up to events and does the exact same thing. Although it was hilarious to me, I respected it at the same time because that’s REAL dedication, thats REAL love for what you do. Some people give up on walking 2 miles to a gym if they can’t get a ride.
Im like, “You know what, I’m going to give this guy a shot.” Although he was doing some weird stuff in the workouts, he was at least trying hard….harder than anyone else because he knew he missed the first day.
Next day of training comes, I got a totally new mindset. I’m going to help this guy get better for whatever it’s worth. We arrive at the court and this is the first thing I see….
That night we went home and Chuck and I may have watched this video 25 times. I don’t remember laughing that hard. Have you ever seen someone literally sprain their ankle trying to break someone else’s? It was new for me.
Next day comes and we go to the sand to get a workout in. I remembered that I never even asked what his name was, mostly because there’s a language barrier, and this was before I decided to learn chinese. He tells me his name is TJ because I wouldn’t be able to pronounce his chinese name. I decided to call him “Helmet” because I couldn’t get the visual of him playing me one on one with a motorcycle helmet on out of my head.
So the workout begins and man….I don’t know, there’s something about this dude that’s hilarious to me. I run into people like this every so often. I can show you in this video better than I can tell you.
From him stumbling around everywhere, to his hair flopping around, to the hole the sand created in his sock, him falling on the ground, I had to run the workout, but in my head I was dying. My ribs were already hurting from laughing the night before. I couldn’t take anymore.
We go through about a week of this. Mind you, everyday he drove back and forth on his motorcycle 4 hours to participate. Like seriously theres so much more to this story but lets skip ahead.
The last day arrives which was the championship. Beijing vs Guangzhou vs Shanghai. We disqualified Helmet from playing since he didn’t technically earn his way onto the squad the first day. But man, these were the most competitive games of basketball that I’ve ever seen in my life. They were playing like it was the NCAA championship. It even got to the point where guys started throwin’ hands.
After this happened, we took a little break and to lighten the mood, they threw More Free and myself out there to play one on one with anyone who wanted to show up. Keep this in mind, no matter where I go……EVERYONE wants to play me one on one….ESPECIALLY PEOPLE IN CHINA. It’s low key why I’m always hurt because at first I wouldn’t turn it down …but now IM 30…I’m a professional at chilling and not wanting to play at all. Anyways, we start it up and guess who lines up to play, HELMET. The moment he had been waiting on since he started watching my videos. More Free and I were switched off playing fans one on one, so when Helmets turn came up, this is what happened.
You can talk trash to me and all that other stuff, but one thing that gets me is when people start clapping in my face or shove the ball in my chest. PET PEEVES!!! Helmet was trying to make a fool out of me, so for a second there I got serious.
I cooked him, but to be honest with you, I grew to like him lol. He showed up early everyday after riding 4 hours, worked hard at every workout, and goes hard at everyone he sees. Nothing but respect when it comes to that.
FAST FORWARD…Some years go by, I see that video on daquan’s page, then in October 2018 I head to China for another tour, but for my friends own shoe brand called “EQUALIZER.” I asked my friend Winter whatever happened to that guy Helmet? He then proceeds to go on his phone and pull up his page……dude had over 2.4 million followers on one platform and over 2.5 on another. Im like, “WHAT THE!!!”
He basically blew up by doing trick shots, playing one on one, and live streaming his handles. In China when you live stream your able to donate money while watching it. It’s actually crazy. There’s this….and I hope this doesn’t offend anyone…over weight man who goes on to the app, live streams himself singing, and people donate thousands of dollars each stream because they think its so funny. In this way Helmet found a stream of revenue, and also with gear.
No matter who laughed at him for being different, Helmet kept doing what he was doing. That right there can go a long way, especially in the days we live in now. Helmet brings in 20K A MONTH. That’s coming a long ways because I was told he comes from a poor town.
Helmet I hope this gets to you, but I am extremely proud of you bro. What you are doing isn’t ordinary and I’m wishing you the best of luck in whatever you do. Thanks for all the laughs….and In my mind you’ve become a legend.