Friday, March 15, 2013
'Dr. Dribble' talks about his record marathon
By Charles Curtis
Darren Weissman -- better known as Doctor Dribble -- has made a career out of teaching ballhandling skills to kids and pros alike.
Last weekend, he added another entry to his impressive résumé: He ran an entire marathon (in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) while dribbling two basketballs. He finished with a time of 4:39:12, and pending the Guinness World Records’ review to confirm his accomplishment, he’ll be the fastest dual dribbler over 26.2 miles.
Playbook caught up with Weissman for a one-on-one to ask about his run, his client list and what motivated him to dribble his way through the course.
How do you feel after your incredible marathon? I feel very proud because this is just proof of what I believe in: When you apply yourself and stand for something important, you can do anything. By inspiring others, it’s so much more meaningful than accomplishing something for yourself. Hopefully it will inspire other people to make a difference and stand for what they believe in.
This isn’t the first time you’ve run 26.2 miles while dribbling two basketballs. What inspired you to do it?
I was jogging with a friend who suggested to me: “Have you ever considered running a marathon with two basketballs?” I called the race coordinator at the ING Marathon [in Miami]. He told me, “That sounds fantastic, I’m sure everyone will get a kick out of it, we’d love for you to do it.” Kids asked me how you dribble two basketballs for that long without messing up and I said, “Anything is possible.” We’re all talented in different ways, we just have to figure out how to help others with our talents and not be afraid to express our talent. My only regret about that race wasn’t that I didn’t contact Guinness ahead of time. I got a lot of publicity for it.
What are the rules you needed to follow to officially break the record?
You are allowed to stop dribbling as long as you’re not moving forward. So if I wanted to put the ball down and take a break, I could do that. Of course, I’d lose time. But Doctor Dribble doesn’t take breaks. I kept my dribble the entire time. I would entertain people, do figure eights with the two basketballs, jumping jacks, behind the back, just to entertain people. I had an overwhelming amount of support at the race. They’d see me coming and say, “There’s that guy! He’s breaking a world record.”
Guinness has told me ahead of time everything that’s required in order to make it official. Now they have to review everything. They said I needed to have someone record me the entire time, so I had two of my good friends follow me on bikes the entire time with four cameras, so if one battery would die or someone would get tired, we’d have a backup.
What’s the charity you’re raising money for?
It’s called OurKids. It supplies care support for foster children that might have been abused, neglected or abandoned. These are kids at a very high risk of going into society and just getting lost. They might have dreams and hopes but never pursue them because of the lack of support. OurKids puts them in permanent homes and families that are going to take good care of them. This charity is dear to me because I fostered a kid for five years who was at high risk, Jonathan Holton. He’s one of 11 brothers and sisters. His aunt refers to me as “Blind Side” and his dream [is] to play in the NBA. He’s in college at Palm Beach State and leads the nation [NJCAA D-I] in rebounding and shooting nearly 40 percent from 3-point line on the season. He’s going to play for Florida International University next year.
Was he at the marathon?
He was. He went back to West Palm [Beach] and was texting me the whole day how proud he was. I’ve been to so many of his games, so this was really fun for him to be there on the other side, cheering me on. For me, it just made it seem more special. One of the things I’ve always [told] him was: “One day, you have to do something to help other people. You have to be successful not so you can take care of me, but so you can take care of other people that need a little help and guidance.” I told him that’s how you can repay me, by doing something to help kids in the community.
How did you become Doctor Dribble in the first place?
Pennsylvania's Alyssa Baron learned some of her dribbling skills from the Doctor.
There was a basketball hoop about a mile away from where I lived, and my father never wanted me to be in the house watching television or playing video games. Wherever I wanted to hang out, I would bring a basketball and dribble wherever I went. I’d go to the court and pretend like someone was guarding me. In my mind, I had Gary Payton defending me. I would work on my moves and just think to myself, “That didn’t work, Gary Payton would have stolen that,” or, “I wouldn’t have gotten past him.” I’d make the move very crisp and very sharp and I would say, “Yeah, I got him.” Whenever I would hit the court and couldn’t play, I wouldn’t sit around and watch -- I would practice ball control drills. That’s how it all came about.
Any famous clientele?
I’ve worked with Jack McClinton, who played for the University of Miami and got drafted by the [San Antonio] Spurs. I worked with Andray Blatche, Penny Hardaway and Carlos Arroyo. Those are some of the guys I worked with after they had already been successful and took an interest in my ballhandling. I worked with Alyssa Baron who is at UPenn. I had her in fifth grade and now she’s a junior and led the Ivy League in scoring as a freshman and sophomore.