David Mak Thompson basketball movies go viral

BROCKTON – Brockton is where some champions are made, not born.

They spend hours training in outdoor parks, running until they are physically off the track and endlessly dribbling balls on cracked concrete – while sweat drips down their faces and the eagerness to become the best in theirs Heart is anchored.

That kind of motivation has turned David Mak Thompson, 32, from an outsider who was often overlooked into a pillar in the local basketball community.

Brockton-born David Mak Thompson of New Bedford, seen here at Hazelwood Park in New Bedford on Friday, June 18, 2021, went viral with his comic basketball videos.

Thompson grew up in Brockton but currently lives in New Bedford and, like many children in the Brockton school system, was excluded from sports teams.

Hundreds of kids try out across the city, but only a handful of them get a position on the teams.

Then they wonder what’s next. Some give up the sport entirely and others, like Thompson, love the game and keep playing.

Thompson’s persistence has resulted in his being featured on sports channels like ESPN, SportsCenter, and theScore for his popular basketball clips, which have a weird twist to keep audiences engaged.

His first video on Facebook received 7.1 million views and his life exploded from then on. In the video, Thompson plays with some neighborhood kids at the Ash Street Playground in Brockton. The video went viral in November 2020.

Brockton-born David Mak Thompson of New Bedford, seen here at Hazelwood Park in New Bedford on Friday, June 18, 2021, went viral with his comic basketball videos.

He mounted his cell phone on his tripod and began recording fancy dribbling techniques that some might call “illegal” moves in a game.

One of the kids said, “I’ll never come back to this dish,” and the video exploded.

Thompson’s number of followers on Instagram grew from 2,000 in October to 110,000 by the end of February.

His TikTok account has collected two million “likes” and more than 160,000 followers.

Thompson received branded deals and is now selling basketball items.

Professional basketball players like Montrezl Harrell and Nate Robinson have written to Thompson and also take note of the fun, unscripted videos. Renowned actor Samuel L. Jackson also follows his Instagram account.

As his newfound fame grows in the basketball community, Thompson recalls his life well before the followers and attention.

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At the age of 19, his mother gave him the option to stay in Brockton or to leave the state with her. He chose to stay in Brockton and live alone. He surfed the couch for a while until he could afford his own seat.

“The transition was difficult at first, but I am living proof that it can get better,” said Thompson. “Just because you hit a wall doesn’t mean things can’t get better.”

Brockton-born David Mak Thompson of New Bedford is showing some moves at Hazelwood Park in New Bedford on Friday, June 18, 2021.

While at Brockton High School, his teacher inspired him to go to college because she told him he had a great radio voice. He then attended Massasoit Community College and studied media art.

Since college, Thompson has taken on a few mentoring programs to help kids in the community excel, he said.

Thompson is currently an assistant teacher at the Match Community Day Charter Public School in Hyde Park for fourth and fifth graders.

The social media influencer said he never thought his life would change so much in such a short period of time.

“People respect me more now and I feel so accomplished,” said Thompson. “All my life I have felt like the bottom of the barrel. I was always the last to be chosen, if I was chosen at all. I was the leader of the association that was chosen last.”

Brockton-born David Mak Thompson of New Bedford is seen here with his daughter Peyton, 6, on Friday June 18, 2021 at Hazelwood Park in New Bedford.

Thompson said basketball gives him a sense of joy, relaxation, and therapy, and is a good place for self-expression.

Thompson hopes children across Brockton will be inspired by his underdog story and continue to do what they love because one day it will pay off.

“I am living proof that one day if you gradually work on something, you will wake up with everything you ever wanted,” he said.

Saying “excuse me” before Thompson does a wild trick is one of his favorite buzzwords and has grabbed the attention of millions on TikTok.

Brockton-born David Mak Thompson of New Bedford is showing some moves at Hazelwood Park in New Bedford on Friday, June 18, 2021.

Thompson handles the editing, filming and shooting of the videos on his mobile phone. He uses neither special equipment nor expensive editing software for his videos.

Anyone can do it, he said.

In the future, his goal is to star in a celebrity basketball game, create his own street basketball video game, and help children in his community become better people in society.

“Be who you are and enjoy who you are because later on you can be the better version of yourself that you never thought you could be,” Thompson said.

Company Alisha Saint-Ciel can be reached by email at stciela@gannett.com. You can follow her on Twitter at @alishaspeakss. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Enterprise today.—

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