Church News and Events

Two-Year-Old’s Basketball Skills Outshine the Pros

  By Jason Swensen, Church News staff writer

  • 1 July 2013

Two-year-old Titus Ashby has challenged NBA stars in shooting contests on the Jimmy Kimmel Live television show.  YouTube screen shot.

Titus Ashby may have redefined the term “basketball prodigy.”            

Over the past few months, this Derby, Kansas, native from a Latter-day Saint family has challenged three professional basketball stars—Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, and Metta World Peace (aka Ron Artest)—to a (modified for their respective statures) hoops shooting contest. Titus’s record? Two wins and a tie.

Pretty impressive for a two-year-old athlete who is still a year away from his first Primary class.

“Baby Titus” has moved seamlessly from online sensation to late-night television star. He’s a trick-shot artist who can make baskets from a staggering variety of angles on his toy basketball hoop. He tosses the ball from behind his head and sinks shots at a percentage LeBron James would envy.

Thousands discovered Titus from his YouTube video. He was later invited to showcase his talents on the Jimmy Kimmel Live television show. First he defeated Shaq, then settled for a draw against Kobe, and, on June 13, beat World Peace 11-6. “I’ve never been nervous in my life, but this kid makes me nervous,” quipped World Peace before their duel.

Titus’s father, Joseph Ashby, admits his baby boy’s newfound fame has been a bit surreal.

“We did not see this coming,” said Brother Ashby, a lifelong Church member and BYU graduate. The Ashbys are members of the Ridgepoint Ward of the Derby Kansas Stake.

Brother Ashby said Titus has not had any stage fright troubles during his television appearances.

“He seems to feed off the crowd,” Brother Ashby said.