- Patrick Dorsey, ESPN Editor
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A year ago, inspired by trick-shot artists in basketball and football, ultimate/Frisbee enthusiast Brodie Smith decided to try his (throwing) hand at his own YouTube clip.
He expected a few thousand views -- similar to his "how-to" Frisbee videos, or his highlight shots from the University of Florida.
He got a few more than that.
His original video boasts more than 2.3 million pairs of eyes having watched. His two "trick shot battles" have been viewed more than a million and a half times each. His most-seen throw-and-catch -- off a bridge, onto a speeding boat -- currently claims more than five million watches. And that above clip -- a top-21 highlight reel released to commemorate this one-year occasion -- is up to more than 125,000.
We caught up this week with Smith -- who runs his own video/apparel business while also playing for the Indy Alley Cats of the professional American Ultimate Disc League -- to see what inspired him and what he's got in store.
What got you started in trick shots?
"I had been a big fan of [basketball trick shot outfit] Dude Perfect for a while ... and I was familiar with trick shots and stuff like that. And it was just me and my buddy sitting around the apartment one day -- we were all still in college -- and we were trying to figure out ways of putting more people into the sport.
"That was right around the same time [trick shot quarterback/Buffalo Bills tryout invitee Alex Tanney] posted [his video], so I was like, 'Hey, let's come up with something.'"
When did you know it was becoming a big deal?
"Basically when that [first] video went viral, and it showed us that people are actually interested in this. And there was a lot of positive comments [like], 'We've never seen this before' and 'This is so cool.' So I was like, 'All right, let's continue to do this.'"
You travel all over the place -- including Canada and Australia. How do you manage all those trips?
"For me to go anywhere -- and I'm willing to go anywhere, as long as it's promoting the sport -- I talk with the people that are interested and we set something up, whether it be running clinics over there or whatnot. Most of the time they fly me over, and we just put together the best video we can possibly put together."
How did you get into pro ultimate?
"There's been talk on the message boards for a while about this pro ultimate league, and there's been a lot of debate on whether or not it was even real. The more information that was going out, people were starting to realize that it is the real thing.
"A lot of teams had approached me. The Alley Cats kind of went above and beyond, flying me up to check out the team and everything. And I fell in love with the organization, fell in love with Indianapolis, and decided to sign."
But I'm guessing there's not a lot of money involved.
"I can't necessarily say exactly, but I can say that right now no one's quitting their job."
So what's next for you, trick shot-wise?
"Next week I have [a new video]. ... I had a really great time filming it, and I'm really excited to show it to everyone. It's the third battle. ... I think people are really going to like it.
"Then I've got some other small projects and some other big projects. ... We'll still keep pumping out the videos here. I think the idea now is to continue to keep putting out new, interesting, creative shots, and keeping people interested in throwing the Frisbee around."