If there is one non-NBA personality that seemingly every basketball fan knows about, I’m willing to bet it’s The Professor. The guy has nearly seven million followers on YouTube, which translates to over half a billion views. If that’s not popular, I don’t know what is.
“The Professor,” as he is fondly called by his legions of fans, was born Grayson Boucher. He hails from Keizer, Arizona. Boucher is best known for performing on the acclaimed international AND1 Mixtape Tour.
You couldn’t have mistaken him for anyone, with his 5-foot-8, rail-thin frame armed with ballistic handles. The Professor also appeared in basketball flicks such as “Ball Don’t Lie” and “Semi-Pro” with Will Ferrell.
While The Professor is arguably the most prominent basketball celebrity outside of the big leagues, his life is not an open book like most of them. That is why in honor of The Professor’s #12, I will list 12 things you may not know about Grayson Boucher. But before all that, let’s look back at The Professor’s younger days in Oregon.
How The Professor Got Into Basketball
Boucher got his love for basketball from his father. His dad, Steve, bought him a Larry Bird hoops set at age three and never looked back.
He earned first-rate talents over many years and hours in the gym, training in his driveway, attending basketball camps, and participating in youth leagues and AAU basketball. Grayson has always found solace in outworking all of his colleagues and improving year after year.
Boucher has always been among the shortest players on the court, and it’s no different in high school. His size was what made him undervalued in the eyes of most coaches. Grayson was relegated to the Junior Varsity team at McNary High School as a junior. He knew he had to become a varsity starter just to be considered by a college team.
As a result, he switched to Salem Academy, a smaller private school. He was determined to work harder than anybody else to earn the starting point guard position. This paid off, as he was named All-State, averaging 20 points and 7 assists. He was one vote away from being named league MVP.
Despite the individual accolades in his senior year, Boucher did not receive any college offers. As always, he must trek the more arduous road to reach the desired destination. And like any other time before, he did not back down from the challenge.
He tried to secure a roster spot at Chemeketa Community College walk-on basis. David Abderhalden, his assistant coach at the time, noticed the potential that others had overlooked. He pushed Grayson to achieve new heights in the gym and on the court. Grayson’s game improved dramatically as a result.
Streetball Found Its Superstar
At this point, it’s clear that the road to the ultimate goal– the NBA– is getting more impossible by the day. But as they say, a window may be opened when the door closes. And that is exactly how things unfolded.
Grayson had been a follower of the And 1 Mixtapes since 1999 and later of the Mixtape Tour, which debuted in 2001. When the And 1 Mixtape Tour rolled in Portland in 2003, he grabbed his brother and went as a fan.
Although he was aware that AND 1 had an open run, he had no clue that there was a nationwide contest to find a new player for the team. As a result, he decided to compete in the open run. After impressing the folks at AND1, he ended up playing in the game instead of watching it that night.
After a fantastic performance in the open run, he was invited onto the tour bus to be a participant in ‘Streetball.’ ESPN viewers decided Grayson’s fate as they voted to retain him on the tour. During this time, Duke Tango branded him “The Professor” because of how he “schools” people on the basketball court.
The rest, they say, is beautiful history.
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12 Things You Need To Know About The Professor
1.) He appeared in a web series in which he costumed as Spider-Man and challenged unsuspecting basketball players in Los Angeles to basketball contests. Boucher posted videos of these games on YouTube, and that series alone fetched him an astounding 400 million views! In fact, the Spider-man Basketball web series is still the most-viewed web series on YouTube.
2.) As of 2022, Grayson Boucher’s net worth is estimated to be $3 million. However, it’s possible that he could have more income through other means.
3.) In April 2019, The Professor suffered a non-contact Achilles tendon tear. This injury is often career-threatening for basketball players. He also revealed that he suffered from acetaminophen and hydrocodone overdose during rehab by accident but has now completely recovered.
4.) Boucher revealed that his superhuman ballhandling skills may be due to the fact that he has had a dribbling trainer since 5th grade.
5.) As a high school freshman, Boucher only stood 5 feet and weighed only 85 pounds. That’s about the weight of a smaller adult Doberman Pinscher!
The Professor’s Inspiration: Michael Jordan
6.) The Professor lists Michael Jordan as his favorite player growing up. But with his playstyle, he cited Allen Iverson, Jason Williams, and Tim Hardaway as major influences.
7.) He only uses Apple products– iPhone, iPad, and iMacs.
8.) His favorite basketball kicks of all time is the Jordan 11s. Next on the list are the J3s and J4s.
9.) Boucher is a very private individual. He does not believe in mixing his work and personal life. Nothing is known about his past relationships and is currently single.
10.) In fact, Grayson is so private that he chose to release details of injury only after healing completely. His injury and rehab were not publicly known until August 2020, 16 months after tearing his Achilles.
11.) His best friend is fellow streetballer Larry “Bone Collector” Williams. The duo trains together and attends church on Sundays.
12.) Grayson is a professed Christian. In his Twitter bio, he lists “Follower of Jesus” first and “streetballer” second.
The Professor’s Most Iconic Moves
Grayson has a decent jump shot and a pretty good layup package, but his calling is no doubt ballhandling. The Professor could control the ball with the best of them. Don’t be surprised if all of his iconic basketball moves are predicated on what he does best.
The Professor teaching “The Teleport” to James Harden
There is more to what Grayson does than showboating. It is no doubt an art. This video shows how much he knows about this stuff that he makes a student out of James Harden. Yeah, it’s just one move, but if you can keep the attention of someone like Harden, you know what you’re doing.
The Allen Iverson Crossover
Allen Iverson was the Godfather of the modern crossover. His crossovers are lethal, but it borders on a carry almost. But still, no dribbling master is complete without the AI crossover, and The Professor is one of those. It’s always a joy to listen to the guy as he breaks down what makes this crossover so effective.
See Slang and Lingo for Hoops.
In streetball, breaking a defender’s ankles is unofficially worth more than a hundred points. You do this in a game, and they may already give you the championship trophy. The Professor is one of those special people who can come up with 10-15 dribbling moves in succession just to snatch your ankles.
Best Highlights 1
The first three clips show how much science and work The Professor has put into his craft. The last two, starting with this one, are watching a streetball legend at work.
Best Highlights 2
The Professor in his younger days is a different animal. Enjoy!
By Jan Rey
Jan is a sucker for all things basketball, and still yells, “Kobe!” every time he tosses a crumpled paper into a trash bin.
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