A supersized hobby: how basketball trick shots are getting kids out of poverty

Three young Christian men from Perth have turned a hobby – basketball trick shots – into a career, and are using their profile to raise money to get children out of poverty.

Scott Gaunson, Derek Herron and Brett Stanford are friends from church who share one particular passion: a love of sport. Between them they play cricket, footy, golf, basketball, Frisbee, and not a few others. They are called How Ridiculous, echoing the sentiment you will want to express when you watch their videos.

The 'How Ridiculous' crew.

The ‘How Ridiculous’ crew.

In 2009 they got together in the backyard and started trying to make basketball trick shots, just for fun. In the beginning they just recorded them on a digital camera and uploaded the videos to YouTube.

From there, someone wrote to them offering to give them money, at which point they decided to partner with Christian child development agency, Compassion. Each of their families had sponsor children through Compassion, so the link seemed straightforward.

Since those early days, the work has grown so much that Scott, Derek and Brett have stopped work to do How Ridiculous almost full time.

Their YouTube channel has 230,000 subscribers, and their videos have garnered over 30 million views.

“God has grown it,” says Scott. “It has been perfect timing – God’s perfect timing. If it had happened earlier, there are certain things we weren’t quite ready for.”

Now the money they earn pays their wages, although they still serve as Ambassadors for Compassion and encourage their fans to give to the charity.

They hold the world record for the highest basketball shot – 126m – which they achieved in June this year, by shooting a hoop from the top of the Gordon Dam in Tasmania. Watch the video:

Scott says, “it took us five hours to get [the shot]. It’s all about patience. Sometimes it happens quickly, and sometimes it never happens.”

Watching the videos, it’s hard to imagine how they come up with some of the ideas for the ridiculous trick shots. Scott says, “the creative stuff is important. We need to set aside time to think of ideas.”

“Yeah, we think about different sports, different locations,” adds Derek. “For example, bowling balls. We might take a bowling ball and try to knock over pins at the bottom of the hill.”

But even as the shots get more and more outrageous, they are keen to remember that everything they do is about the promoting the gospel.

“I’d encourage anyone to read the words of Jesus and to be challenged by his call for us,” said Brett, in an interview earlier this year. “We’re not here to live for ourselves, we’re here to live for him and his glory and in order to do that, we need to be all about the things he cares for: a love and a compassion for people.”