By Shweta Sharma
This Hawaiian freestyler has taken his passion for spinning a basketball a notch higher.
Kalani Ahmad, who is better known as KalaniBallFree, has found a profession in spinning basketballs.
He is so talented he can spin not one or two but SIX basketballs synchronously and on the tips and edges of various objects.
Be it a razor head, book edge, a toothbrush, a fork while eating spaghetti, a knife while chopping a bell pepper, on chopsticks or on the tip of Ukulele, Kalani spins basketballs with extreme ease.
Kalani said: “I have been doing these tricks since the age of 10 years old.
“I started taking the tricks a lot more seriously after I was done playing organised basketball at the age of 20.
“I am self-taught and I was inspired by Nike Commercial, And1, and Harlem Globetrotters. Seeing how unique and fun they were; it was so inspiring.
The 32-year-old from Honolulu has garnered a huge fan-following by showcasing his talent in special events and shows including the celebrated NBA halftime and America’s Got Talent.
But Kalani says, his tricks are not a cool way to impress friends, but an escape from stress.
He said: “The reason for doing basketball tricks was to find peace.
“My mom has a disability since I was born and I wasn’t good at school.
“When I played organised basketball, it wasn’t that much fun at times.
“I had too much stress and needed an outlet, a place where there were no rules, no one to tell me what to do.
“I wanted a place to get away.
“Every time I held a basketball I felt like I’m in my own world especially while doing tricks. I knew I needed to find a way to always keep basketball in my life.
“So it wasn’t to be cool to impress friends to make money. It was all for the love of the game.
“It was all for a place for me to get away.
“Now I’m just lucky enough to share my talent with the world.
Kalani practices for four hours a day honing up his skills, challenging himself and adding more tricks once he achieves his goals.
He unfailingly feeds his millions of devoted followers on social media with creative videos and makes a living out of his tricks.
He said: “I was living with my grandma at the time who is full Japanese and very old fashion.
“One day after school I told her I don’t want to go to college and do basketball tricks full time.
“She was mad at me and had a lot of questions on how I will do it full time.
“I don’t blame her or my family as this is unique job choice and not many can see my vision in life because for me, ‘ball is life’.
“I didn’t even know how I would do it full time but I was willing to give it my all. I had read that it takes about five years to determine someone’s business.
“So I told her give me five years and if it doesn’t work out I’ll get a job or go to school etc.
She gave me a chance which was very surprising coming from my Japanese grandma who is 86.”
Now after a crafting a successful career from his passion, Kalani goes to schools as a motivational speaker to encourage students.
He said: “I have appeared on season 6 of America’s Got Talent Quarter Finalist and performed NBA halftime shows.
“I am best known on social media for spinning basketballs on any object possible.
“I also go to schools as a motivational speaker all over the country encouraging students to never give up.”