Quentin Grimes was leaning over his kitchen island, making a snack of tortilla chips and going through TikTok. It was October 2020, and it was a couple of months before the start of the men’s junior basketball season at the University of Houston. In his TikTo feed, he came across video footage of imitating dolphins and their bodies meeting friends and strangers. Grimes couldn’t help but laugh, so he decided to jump on the bandwagon.
He downloaded the audio track from the app, tilted the iPhone against a toaster oven, and pressed the recording. As he was still stepping on a chip, he stretched out his hands in front of her, arched his back, and jumped in sync with the sound of a pistol shot. When the other two shots of the song were played, he advanced twice more, laughing as he fell from the camera frame. The entire video lasted six seconds.
He didn’t think about anything else until he went to bed that night and reopened the app. Within minutes, the video was played more than 100,000 times. The next day, the number was over half a million, and Grimes gained 20,000 followers. It was just the ninth video he posted in his mind, but the app convinced him that he could share the fun side of himself that basketball fans rarely see on the court.
“As an athlete, you want to be known for something other than your sport,” Grimes, 21, said as he passed his iPhone 13 in an interview at his White Plains, NY apartment. “You don’t want to post basketball, “Basketball, basketball. You don’t want that to be your whole life. I think the fans want to see you as a real person.”
The Knicks acquired Grimes in a draft nightly deal in 2021, about nine months after TikTok’s ever-expanding video of his dolphins introduced an audience to his unusual and playful personality. This charisma, as well as his fondness for reverence, has helped him garner more than 100,000 followers in an increasingly influential social media app, counting only Josh Giddey (515,000) and Jalen Green (326,000) among the 2021 NBA draft class. . As a league, the NBA has quickly taken on TikTok, and its official account has nearly double the number of fans in the country’s most popular sports league, as the NFL Grimes ’career progresses in a large market like New York. ready to take advantage of his growing followers. But for now, it’s more for LOL.
“I save them for people who come to the garden,” he said. “At TikTok, I’m trying to make people smile.”
Grimes took the wrong path to play for the Knicks. A native of Texas, he was hired in the 2018 class with a high-stakes 5-star consensus and entered Kansas as the only alleged player. But after a disappointing first year, he moved to Houston to be closer to home. As a high school student, Houston helped him win his second conference championship and helped The Associated Press climb to the Top 25 with a 23-8 record. Twelve days after the NCAA announced the cancellation of the 2020 men’s basketball tournament, Grimes launched a TikTok account due to the coronavirus pandemic. The title of his first release was: “Boreddddddd!”
As a child, Grimes led his first Final Four in Houston from the Phi Slama Jama bands of the early 1980s. In April, he testified for the draft, but was scheduled as a second-round pick a outstanding performance in combination with the draft. In July, the Los Angeles Clippers picked him at No. 25 on behalf of the Knicks, as he received the draft pick at a trade show. That night, TikTok posted one: “NEW YORK IS GOOD!” It received almost 500,000 views and almost 1,500 comments.
Ben Perkins, the former Grimes AAU coach and longtime coach, saw Grimes hit hard on social media when he saw the video. “In basketball, I rarely praise him. I like to push and push him, ”Perkins said. “The first thing I said when I saw the video was, ‘Hey, man! Who wants to look at that? ” But it’s really fun. It’s like his alter ego. Only if you know him as a murderer on the court is this a chance to see his stupid side. ”
Most Grimes posts dance, usually in a hotel room or bathroom. Although he publishes them once a month, he spends three hours a day on the app and says he sends and receives hundreds of memes every day. If he sees a trend often enough, he tries. If it takes more than a few to take, it cancels out. In Houston, he regularly included his teammates in his TikToks, but being a NBA rookie this season, he thought it best to keep asking his veteran teammates for cameos.
At the start of the season, Knicks fans saw more on social media than on the court – he didn’t appear in 12 of the team’s first 16 games. But among those games, the Knicks coach was impressed with his effort in training, his commitment to analyzing defensive tasks, and even the energy he showed in the garbage minutes. Grimes made his first outing in December when the team was without RJ Barrett, Obi Toppin and Alec Burks. he set one franchise rookie record with seven 3s. The jersey of that game is hanging on a chair in his kitchen, waiting for the frame.
“My attitude was,‘ If I only get on the court at the last minute, then my goal is to play 110 percent of that minute, ’” Grimes said. “In a minute, you can still get a big stop or a big boat. All of this is taken into account by coaches. Despite being eight seconds into the defense, it’s important how you play. That was my initial task. They would say, ‘Go take care of Jimmy Butler,’ and I’d say, ‘Okay, I’m going to do this.’ “
From Christmas to the All-Star break, he averaged more than 23 minutes per game and made five more outings. His coach was also impressed by his toughness. “I love Grimes. I love Grimes, “Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau told reporters after a January training session.
In February, Grimes partially dislocated his right knee while trying to get around a screen in the first quarter of the game against Miami. He couldn’t look at his knee, drifting to the side of his leg — even a month later he thought it made him tremble — but he calmed down when he knew the injury wasn’t going to happen. be changing career. The only disappointment was that his half-brother Tyler Myers had a hard time playing on the same field on the same day. Vancouver Canucks veteran defense. He returned to the court less than a month later, but has slowly taken over as the Knicks season ends without a playoff.
He has also slowed down his recovery. But that doesn’t mean he spends less time on social media. Every night, after taking a shower and turning off all the lights in his house, he puts his phone in his hand and his head on his pillow. “It’s just me and the screen shining, scrolling and scrolling,” he said. “You’re hooked,” he taps his fingers. that! And then, even if you’re not tired, you have to force him to sleep. ‘
With the rookie season almost over, Grimes has big plans for the future of New York – on the court and online. He said he wants to make more videos next season with Barrett and Cam Reddish, who he has known since they were high school seniors. And, of course, he hopes that as a healthy team, the Knicks can help him return to the postseason. “Next year,” he said, “people will really see what we can do.”