From nowhere, John Boateng became a minor celebrity overnight less than two weeks ago, when a dunk attempt at the end of practice with the high school basketball team he coaches went incredibly wrong. Now, the coach just wants everyone to know that he's not Johnny Knoxville, has no plans to continue setting up ill-fated dunks in the future and that -- most surprisingly -- he's actual a professional dunker.
That's right, the man who is now best-known for breaking a backboard on a horrendous failed dunk actually has professional dunking on his resume. The man throwing down the dunk in the Nike Air Jordan XX2 ad below? That's Boateng. He's also performed in multiple spots for EA Sports video game ads.
When you watch his different clips, it becomes clear that Boateng made a name for himself by being an aggressive and incredibly talented dunker. That's why the broken backboard was so out of place ... and so terrifying.
"[The dunk was] scary, because as I had the presence of mind to realize how I was falling, with no feet beneath me, panic set in," Boateng told Prep Rally.
"I dunk all the time -- I'm a professional dunker -- and I've never experienced anything remotely close to that before. I've dunked several times on that same rim, some of which were captured on video, but didn't catch as much attention as this failed dunk. Obviously."
There are plenty of things one can say about Boateng. That he has a poor sense of humor isn't one of them. He said after the "Dunk FAIL" video went viral his mother asked him, "Johnny, are you famous?" ... and he didn't even know how to reply.
"I don't know? Can you be from such a thing?" Boateng wondered aloud. "I'm not Johnny Knoxville ... but it's been hectic, apart from interviews, and TV producers asking to use the footage, nothing has really come of it other than my phone and Facebook page blowing up after [ESPN] ran it on the top-10 plays of the week. I'm cool with that."
He's also perfectly comfortable getting inspiration for his work from his own experiences. Boateng describes himself as a screenwriter who focuses on inspirational sports stories, so the fact that it was he who somehow walked away unharmed from a dunk which could easily have paralyzed him isn't lost on the junior varsity basketball coach at St. Patrick's (B.C.) High in Vancouver. The "Backboard Breaking Dunk FAIL" -- and yes, Boateng was in full support of that title -- isn't the first time his own life has inspired his work.
After starting his collegiate career at Evansville University, Boateng transferred to Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, near his home. One day he was walking down the stairs in his townhouse and his hand railing gave way. The perennially healthy collegiate athlete fell suddenly, toppling down the stairs, landing on his head and breaking his neck. While doctors told Boateng it was a miracle that he was even walking, he refused to give up on his playing career, eventually making it back to the court for Simon Fraser after a year of rehab.
With that background, perhaps it's no surprise that Boateng has taken his failed dunk in such good humored stride. The only question now is where the experience will pop up in the future.
"I don't know, I think people love to see other people fail when they try to do something, and then they want to see them brush themselves off and get back up," Boateng told Prep Rally. "At the same time, it's pretty damn funny, and who doesn't love a good laugh at someone else's expense? I'm glad people are getting a kick out of it, that's why I posted it."