From Unknown to Viral Star: One Video Can Make All the Difference

Twitter, Instagram and House of Highlights have the ability to turn an unknown player into a viral star. Highlights can completely change a career.

From Unknown to Viral Star: One Video Can Make All the Difference

Twitter, Instagram and House of Highlights have the ability to turn an unknown player into a viral star. Highlights can completely change a career.

As LeBron James continues to dominate at age 33 and with nearly 1,200 NBA games on his odometer, his presence serves as a stark reminder at how much things have changed since he first arrived on the national radar. James famously graced the cover of Sports Illustrated as a junior in high school in 2002, and the fact that ESPN broadcast a few St. Vincent-St. Mary High School games was solely due to his presence.

But James is one of the greatest basketball players ever and was a complete outlier in getting national attention as a high schooler. Fellow preps-to-pros studs like Dwight Howard, Amare Stoudemire, Al Jefferson and Shaun Livingston were almost complete unknowns to the general public, and only hardcore hoop heads knew their backgrounds when they were selected.

The landscape has completely changed. Dozens of high school players now have a brighter spotlight than even James did as a prep star. Multiple members of the 2019 recruiting class have more than one million followers on Instagram, and just one great dunk or killer crossover can go viral and put an athlete on the national radar.

That’s the power of the highlight.

No longer do great accomplishments and standout performances go unnoticed. Thanks to social media platforms and sites such as House of Highlights, BallIsLife and Overtime, any curtain hiding basketball exploits from fans has been torn down. Overtime is so desperate for video that it pays athletes’ classmates to record their exploits.

Video has the power to vault players onto the national radar, but they can take the next step by being proactive. Why take the chance and hope that a fan’s cell phone caught a devastating dunk or that Sportscenter happens to catch wind of a putback slam? Athletes have the ability to take advantage of video and make their viral dreams a reality.

Compiling a quick playlist of standout plays introduces an athlete to the world, showcasing their abilities. It also catches the attention of college coaches, who are always searching for the next big thing.

“Social media is the new road to recruiting,” Anthony Hargraves, a program director at Riverside Church Hawks (NY), told The Athletic. “You can identify kids online then go see them on your own time … If you’re a coach in North Carolina, you can hear about a kid in Ohio because they’re on Instagram, Twitter, and online video. It allows colleges to cover a great deal of ground without traveling.”

Unlike James, today’s athletes don’t need Sports Illustrated or ESPN to become known commodities. National fame and a boatload of scholarship offers are just a viral video away. So harness that power. Starting creating highlight videos and reap the rewards.

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