Dre Baldwin Before Basketball

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I was always into sports and, as long as I can remember, felt that I had the gift of athleticism. My early sports experiences were in the driveway behind my house in Philly on Dorset street- 1-2-3-hold football, kickball, backyard basketball on adjustable courts. My first entry into organized sports was with baseball, which my dad coached at the local playground (and still does). I was incredibly bad at baseball to begin with– I mean can’t-catch-the-ball, never-make-contact-when-I’m-at-bat bad– but I became a contributor about 3 years in, and a full blown Rookie League star by the time I was 14 (the Rookie league age limit). The league I played in wasn’t a fast pitch league, however. It used a pitching machine, meaning the ball went right down the pipe every time once it was adjusted for each batter’s height. So I knew that moving up to playing vs. live pitching would be a challenge, I just didn’t know how inept I really was at trying to hit a pitched baseball. By the time I hit high school, I had hung up my cleats.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSS_NdqhePk

I showed interest in football around the same time that I started baseball. I ended up on the diamond, though, because football equipment was not cheap. My parents made sure we never needed for any necessities and also had lots of extras as kids, but springing for hundreds of dollars of pads and helmets was a bit too steep of an investment, especially with no guarantee from the coaches that I’d even make the team. I was quite fast though, and maybe woulda turned into a wide receiver if I had stayed with the pigskin. But I aint mad at all; basketball is prettier and careers last longer.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxOSNbLz9Tg

(One year in middle school, though, I did participate in track & field practices. I found out there that I wasn’t nearly as fast as I had once thought.)

My dad taught me how to play chess at a young age, and with guidance from a coach at Masterman Middle School named Mr. Shutt, I became pretty good at chess. My dad would take me to tournaments on weekends where I actually beat a few other players. I remember traveling with a couple of other kids to a weekend tourney where we stayed in a hotel in Jersey as a middle schooler. I also recall getting beat handily in all my matches that weekend. I was nice with it though; my dad once told me he didn’t even look forward to playing me any more because I had surpassed him.

If you’re from the hood, though, you know this: ain’t too many chess players you can name that came from your block. I naturally turned to sports as my outlet when chess just became too nerdy and “uncool” for me. Had i grown up in the ‘burbs, who knows what would have become of me. I think athletes make more money anyway though.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahliDwfOqNw

I started playing basketball at Finley Playground at around 14 years old, even though my mother had sent me to try out for bball teams at Finley beginning at 11 or 12 years old. I didn’t come close to making those teams. I remember crying after being cut on those fateful days; not because I believed I should be on the team, but for the embarrassment of seeing my peers (many of whom went to the same school as me and/ or had parents that were friends of my parents) make teams I wasn’t good enough to be a part of. The neighborhood I’m from, everyone played basketball between the ages of 10-20, HARD, and daily in the summer. So any person within a year or two of my age from Mt. Airy, I could see them today and not know a thing about their current life, other than their name and basketball-playing style from back in my teen years.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KS6zSob6MkE

I started playing bball all the time after baseball practices on Saturday afternoons, and spent endless summer hours out on that blacktop, alone, practicing. I had no mentor- my dad was more of baseball player as a kid, and I had no brothers- and didn’t have Youtube or any type of free-advice giver online to turn to for ideas. I just kept practicing the things I saw the good players do, combined with what I imagined, until I was one of the good players.

The rest, as they say, is history.

57 Comments

  1. hey dre i am entering the up and coming Nba draft after this season i know if i do make it i’ll probably be a second rounder. If i make it past training camp and actually make it on a roster i would like for you to be my personal trainer is there anyway i can get in contact with u ? Do u have a agent ?

  2. hey dre do u have a video on what you do conditioning wise like running i wanna know what u do to stay in shape.

  3. Hey dre i would like to Womg and i spend hours working on drills and i would like it if u my role model would make a video on basic fundemental and break down how to shoot even more i understand that everyones different but i want to shoot like u and if u cant do it i understand your a busy guy.

  4. I’m a junior, i made the basketball team two times in a row but was cut this year. My coach told me that my fundamentals are great but i was not able to run the offense the correct way and was out played by a couple sophomores. I’m still very passionate about basketball and really want to improve.

  5. Hey dre,i am from argentina,me gustaria que me entrenes,me gustaria viajar para entrenar contigo que dices?please respond

  6. Hey Dre what’s up man, I read your story of success and inspiration and just like the LeBron James commercial “Maybe It’s My Fault” it really inspired me. I’m from the UK and I really enjoyed watching your videos and reading your tips and stuff. When I was about 6-13 years old I played football and cricket (being an Asian) I played football and cricket and it was fair to say I really sucked at football/soccer and I couldn’t play cricket properly, but you learn! When I came to Highschool and was about 13 or 14 I played basketball during a PE lesson/Gym lesson and was really good at it/I had a thing for it because of my height. So I started out not being able to shoot very well and only very limited knowledge of the game. When I started out and played in the scrimmages during break and lunch nobody wanted me on their team and I was always the last one to get picked but I kept on playing and never gave up on myself even when people called me shit and said I could never play for a team I got really upset, I remember one time last academic year (Year 10) when the point guard of our team (someone I had helped and shown around as he came from Sri Lanka!) turned his back on me and was being a dick. I’ve really improved my mental attitude towards basketball because of inspiration and he,p from your videos and now I have a pretty decent knowledge of the game, shot selection and all (gotta work on ball handling and driving and finishing at the hoop and maybe my post game as I’m tall). I also make a lot more of my shots and block those who blocked me when I tried to shoot when I firststarted to play! Ahaha! Seen as though its my last academic year this year I wanted to go and play college ball abroad (and yes I did watch the video on emailing the assisting coaches etc!) but my mum doesn’t want to support me as she thinks I’ll piss my life away like my A* student cousin has done and has ruined his career opportunities. If my mum doesn’t want to support me what should I do? Should I try and get scouted for my reigon and then under 18’s England? HELP please! 🙂

    • Hey Raeese,

      Thanks for sharing your story. I cant tell you exactly what to do as you are old enough to make those decisions for your life. I’m glad to hear my videos have helped you in your progress of skills. as for your parents, i think the best thing you can do is show them that youre dedicated to the game and are taking it seriously. this is shown through your actions, not your words. if you are being supported by your parents financially then they do have some say, since they are paying for the things you’re doing in life. so you do need to get them on board in this case — again by showing your dedication, not speaking it. let me know how it goes. good luck.

      • Hey Dre, I talked to my mum about it, and she said that there’s so much more I can do in my life with what I’ve achieved and she said that’s she’s fine about me playing, and getting serious but don’t forget my studies and just play till I get there, if I get offered a opportunity, I’ll take it. No doubt about it. She said why not play and keep progressing and do your studies and you can coach maybe later on in life or have it as a part time job? seems like a good idea and thanks for your advice man!! I’m getting there!

  7. yo bro…. Every time i’m using your videos thing getting better in me, what you are doing very impressive….

  8. Hello Dre,
    love your videos man. Keep it up! I’m 6’2 but sometimes i try to dunk, almost close but still didnt get it. Can you you give tips to jump higher and dunk?

    Thanks

  9. Hey Dre… 1st of all i’ve never seen anyone do anything with so much faith, consistency and hardwork. With that being said, you’ve inspired me to do the same – record my workouts, however, i have on question; what camera do you use to record yourself and who the hell records, if noboy does, then how do you get the camera to record you? sorry if this has already been asked and thx in advance!

    • The content is what matters, not the camera. Like a basketball player with sneakers. If the best camera you can buy is recording weak content, no equipment can help it. A tripod will hold your camera. Good luck.

  10. hey whats up dre i read ur story is coll and I want some help too I have fell in love with the game last year in 7th grade and i like evrybody was horrible for so long and people always diss me, but i still did not listen and when summner 2011 came i practise learnig shoothing first with my friend who made the a team last year and then he quit to skate so I had to learn evrything on my own and so i did dribling,layups,drives,3s and passing comes tryouts I wasll ready and surpassed many people from the b team and then i was so nervous i did not do well and so I did not make a or b team and like u problaby felt before I felt like a loser but i did not quit and then next day coach said if i wanted to be player manager, ( a extra player so if some player was sick injured absent or kicked out of the team i would fill up for them plus i could help my coach with the uniform) so any way people made up rumors that i cried for my mom and she called the school so i can play wich was absolutly bulls.h.i.t and so i had to deal with that but at least a guy got injured and i got to play 2 games this season 1 normal and our final game (wich i had 3 steals 2 points(free throws) and 2 assists), and now i wanna play ball all trough high school and be able to get a scholarship to univarsity of Illinois and play point guard there and maybe play pro ball for 4 years at nba so my first goal is to make the freshman A team next year in high school so please send me some tips and advice please and good luck with ur career i think u will make the NBA p.s(some of ur videos i used this sumner they are beast).

  11. i am a middle schooler 5″5 Small Forward/Shooting Guard i need more handles,rebounding,and a better shooting form.

    I am a good mid range shooter,a good driver,and have some handles.

  12. yo man thanks for all the vids u put up, you got me inspired bro, thanks for everything. i hope you make it to the league.

  13. Thank You Dre for all of ur videos. It really helped me and inspired me to work harder. Please keep on making more videos and I wish you the best of luck on making it to the NBA. That’s my dream too and I hope to achieve it one day.

  14. WAAA WAS UP DRE ! DO U HAVE ANY VIDEO’S ON HOW TO MAKE UR LEFT HAND STRONGER . I CAN DRIBBLE WITH MY LEFT HAND GOOD I JUST CAN’T LAY UP AS GOOD WITH IT . YEA SO KEEP IT UP KEEP HOOPIN ! I HOPE TO SEE U ON NBA 2K12

    • hey, this is out to everyone that reads this. While im readn these comments all i see is can YOU teach ME how to make a layup, how to dribble ect. Here’s a question to ask yourself, Do you think watching Dre’s videos are gonna help u build muscle memory? or do you think working your ass of in the gym will? Im 14 years old and i got cut from the same travel team 2 years in a row. When i was on this website one day my dad said to me, get off the computer and work on your own game. kinda like buy a game. After he said that i worked out in the gym 5 hours a day at the same time every day for my whole summer. my stats have doubled. BUY A GAME!!!!!!

  15. Hey man, got a question, what excercises do you do to increase your hops and starting speed (are those related?), or/and what muscles do you train for that? The calfs? I’m bout 6.2 feet, so it should be possible..
    Btw awesome vids man! Hope you get into the nba real soon! Did you apply for the draft this year?

  16. Sup man I’m from australia and I’d like to thank you because you inspired my whole basketball team to have a goal to make it into the NBA even though it’s not easy from here. My fav basketballer was patty mills now u r thanx mate for helping improve my skills. From my whoe bball team gud luck and thank you PS if u come to Australia u should watch an afl game cause it’s off the hook (I’ll get you sum tickets if u come)

    • thank you very much i appreciate the support from you and your team!! stay tuned and keep me updated on your progress

  17. i find it kind of weird how much i relate to you. i was into soccer as a kid but didn’t excel. got into ball after and practiced all the time. still do haha and your vids have been pretty helpful thanks by the way.
    let’s have a game of chess haha.. i haven’t lost in a while =p

  18. Dre how often do you work out and wat do you do daily basketball wiseum and wat exersices u do fa your verticle

  19. What dre I don’t know you but .I’m 13 and good at bball be playin wit high schoolers and stuff and I be watching yo videos to on youtube they work fa me thanks bra

  20. This really entertained me :O When you started playing, you had no mentor or brother(s) who could play with you and teach you.
    I’ll tell you, I have 2 brothers, they both dont play basketball and dont even want to play with me (or at least not as long as I want) 😉 although, my dad used to play basketball a long time ago maybe he could teach me something :d
    But I dont have to worry about a free advice giver cause thats you ;p thanks for those videos and this story

  21. your story really made my day alot better. this makes me really want to practice alot. thanks dre

  22. Hey Dre, there was a kid named Stefon Jackson that came outta Philly, prolly 4-5 years younger than you. Anwyays, he played at my hometown college UTEP and set the all-time scoring records for UTEP and conference USA. Just wondering if you might of remembered him or heard his name or somethin?

  23. awesome! feels great right? how’s the players over there?
    same level like you or you can still beat some of them up?

  24. thanks
    well have you try out for nba yet?
    and what kind of training, besides shooting, did you do when you were a teen?
    and when did you start realize that you can starting beating the players that used to beat you?

    • im at D-League PreDraft Camp at this exact moment.
      everything u see in my vids, ive been doing as longas ive been playing in some form.
      i got to that “beat anyone” level around 18-19yrs old.
      thanks for supporting my site!

  25. thanks, your story is really inspired!
    but i can’t imagine how hard does it to take to be a nba or really excellent player, like lots of people all over the world try to do the same thing, what’s ur opinion of this or you just don’t care?

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