Up next: Reebok's Foetus of the Year
May 30, 2003 6:26 PM   Subscribe

By now, you might already have heard about Mark Walker, the 3 year old hoops prodigy that Reebok is featuring on their website; while the video of him hitting 18 straight shots from various spots on the floor is cute/impressive, the "interview" movie is horrendously creepy. The closing tagline "I'm the future of basketball; I am Reebok" done in the voice of such a small child just conjures up visions of in vitro logo tattooing. (Warning: Movies are in Quicktime)
posted by jonson (29 comments total)
After watching these I can't shake the feeling that I'm watching the latest computer generated character.

Gollum's got nothing on this kid.
posted by jeremias at 6:58 PM on May 30, 2003

Absolutely INSANE. I sure hope this isn't some crazy hoax.

I was smiling ear to ear watching him shoot, until the last clip. "I am rebook." Way creepy watching a 3 year old saying things he can't possibly understand.
posted by stigg at 7:03 PM on May 30, 2003

Yeah, the "i am reebok" thing was pretty wrong, but what i found creepy was watching a prodigy at work. It's the same feeling i get watching the 5 year old piano and violin virtuosos. It's really fantastic that they are that good at that age, but it also demonstrates how differently wired some people are than others and how early those differences can manifest.

i hope the kid makes bank off of reebok and his parents have the good sense to save it away so that the kid can live the good life when he is older.
posted by quin at 7:08 PM on May 30, 2003

He'll never live up to the hype. He'll be a has-been at age 8.
posted by pemulis at 7:16 PM on May 30, 2003

What's specifically odd about this prodigy (as opposed to scholastic/artistic types) is the amount of physical development that will have to take place. Even just seeing him have the energy to hoist 19 shots in the space of two minutes looked exhausting for such a small body; what if this kid grows up to be 5'6". I mean, I know there are small NBA point guards now and then (Earl Boykins, Muggsy Bogues, Spud Webb), but the degree to which his life is going to be geared around an NBA career and the cute childhood ritual of meauring your height with a pencil on the wall and watching your growth will take on a whole new and pressured feeling. No amount of exercise & practise will make him taller. Still, I bet he ends up getting more women than Beethoven or that kid from Little Man Tate.
posted by jonson at 7:17 PM on May 30, 2003

I thought the kid was cute as a button, and as for Reebok, he's the perfect answer to Nike's spending 90 million for a friggin' high school kid. And the 3 year old's pay? Reebok set him and his parents up with a college trust fund so he actually goes on to get an education.

By the way, what's with the warning for Quicktime? I understand that it lacks the thrill of a Real or Windows streaming clip stopping halfway through the play or jerking out with pauses and stutters, but I've learned to live quite happily without those extra benefits to the online viewing experience. You spreading flamebait, jonson?
posted by dakotadusk at 7:21 PM on May 30, 2003

By the way, here's some additional recource linkage from Adland and Press Democrat to help y'all develop a fuller picture on this particular subject.
posted by dakotadusk at 7:32 PM on May 30, 2003

...uhh... "resource," not "recourse." I guess spell check isn't much help when the typo is another actual word. My bad.
posted by dakotadusk at 7:36 PM on May 30, 2003

I was really hoping he'd finish with a monster slam on the kids' net behind the one he was shooting at.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:51 PM on May 30, 2003

I don't know which is creepier... him saying "I am Reebok" or his parent, who probably sees him as a 3 foot tall dollar sign, teaching him to say it.
posted by crunchland at 8:28 PM on May 30, 2003

The Basketball Syndrom
posted by stbalbach at 8:56 PM on May 30, 2003

At least it wasn't "I am Enron".
posted by Pretty_Generic at 9:07 PM on May 30, 2003

Okay, that kid's like a ninth of my age and at least nine times better than me. Somebody wanna do the math? I think I measure like 0.015 Mark Walkers or something, on the basketball ability scale. (Or, according to xcalc, 0.012345679. So at least it's a snazzy number...)

re: the creepiness of him saying "I am Reebok." In true MeFi style, I didn't actually watch *that* clip, but I have met toddlers who are, if anything, almost more media-filled than their elders. A friend of a friend had a two-year old son who, every time he'd see my skateboard, would sing, "Zoom zoom zoom" in imitation of a Mazda ad with a skateboarder in it. And I think we've all seen small children in supermarkets having tantrums over their parents' unwillingness to buy some well-advertised (typically Disney) video/book/toy.
posted by arto at 9:09 PM on May 30, 2003

and oh, dakotadusk, seems to me this ought to be addressed in some faq or the metafilter wiki, but it seems like good etiquette to warn people of any link that points to something other than a garden variety webpage--some people do still have slow links and/or no support for snazzy media formats
posted by arto at 9:11 PM on May 30, 2003

Huh? The first link points to a page on the Mark Walker topic from Thursday - just text and a jpeg in bloggy format on that page. The second link goes to a standard news page, also just text and jpegs. Some folks must have reeeeeaaallly slow connections if that's gonna overwhelm 'em. My apologies if any of you are using NetZero or a 14.4 modem. Sorry.
posted by dakotadusk at 9:30 PM on May 30, 2003

dakotadusk - no need to be all sarcastic. It's just common courtesy (and site protocol) when linking to media that requires something beyond the vanilla broswer install (really, it is - note how often links here say "warning: Flash", or "Warning: Windows Media"). It wasn't a slam on your beloved quicktime, which, for the record is my media viewer of choice.
posted by jonson at 9:45 PM on May 30, 2003

Wait a sec - I just read what you wrote again. Are you saying you don't see a Quicktime movie in the second or third links? Cause if not, something's wrong, since I do, and from the looks of it, several other people here do as well.
posted by jonson at 9:46 PM on May 30, 2003

Okay, third time's the charm. Clear misunderstanding. You're responding to arto, thinking he was reprimanding you for not warning people with slow connections about the links you posted, when in fact, he was just responding to your quicktime/real/wmp call out above, explaining why I mentioned that the site I linked to was in Quicktime. That confusion led to your sarcastic response, which led to my confusion, which led to my further confusion. Jeez, very lame. Apologies for all the noise. I wish I could go back and delete my other comments.
posted by jonson at 9:55 PM on May 30, 2003

Sorry for the sarc (it's my late night nature). I was referring to the linked page - there is rich media found beyond that page, but beyond the Reebok site link, the primary links going to the Nike LeBron James and Freddy Adu related topics are basic pages, and I thought they might be relevant to this discussion.

True, there are other stories/posts/links at that Adland site that are Quicktime (a bunch, actually), but those weren't what I was trying to point at. I'll try to do a better heads-up next time - I'm quite used to that site and didn't think about all the other outlying links outside of the Reebok story frame thingy.

posted by dakotadusk at 10:08 PM on May 30, 2003

LOL. Must be sleepytime for both of us!

Hoop dreams, my friend.
posted by dakotadusk at 10:10 PM on May 30, 2003

At least it's not that dancing baby thing... now THAT was creepy.
posted by wfrgms at 11:01 PM on May 30, 2003

So when is this kid declaring for the draft? I am sure analysts already have him pegged as a lottery pick for the 2004 draft, in sync with the "draft on potential" ideology.
posted by Dukebloo at 11:56 PM on May 30, 2003

Anyway, I guarantee I could beat him one-on-one.
posted by pemulis at 12:09 AM on May 31, 2003

Does anyone else have this image of the kid in 16 or 17 years, an NBA rookie, hitting shots from all over the floor, and still using that two-hands-over-the-head shooting style, because it's a "God-given talent?"
posted by rusty at 5:26 AM on May 31, 2003

It didn't strike anyone else as peculiar that a/ there was a hand over the lens after about 15 hoops (which may have been a ripe opportunity for a splice) and b/ the last few hoops, the camera focussed exclusively on Mark, rather than his shots? I have no doubt he's an excellent shot, but the camera work seems rather odd.
posted by John Shaft at 5:30 AM on May 31, 2003

Does anyone else have this image of the kid in 16 or 17 years, an NBA rookie, hitting shots from all over the floor, and still using that two-hands-over-the-head shooting style, because it's a "God-given talent?"

Of course not, the two handed thing won't take him into the pros. The scary thing about watching Tiger Woods as a kid was that he had an adult-looking swing.

But passion and practice will take you far and he obviously has both.
posted by sexymofo at 6:28 AM on May 31, 2003

Why not an exploited 3-year old kid representing Reebok? Since exploited kids make most of their sneakers, they'll have a role model to motivate them to keep on sewing for pennies a day.
posted by FormlessOne at 7:25 AM on May 31, 2003

This kid's got years of free potato soup ahead of him.
posted by yerfatma at 10:19 AM on May 31, 2003

Is his parroting 'I am Reebok' any worse than 'God given talent'? He can't understand either.

Like others here I'm wary of how such attention can impact on kids.
How much did being a prodigy affect James/Lauren Charlotte Harries' adult behaviour?
posted by biffa at 1:53 PM on June 1, 2003

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