The choreographed moves Majesty Brandon makes at the free-throw line aren’t just for show. The routine he does before each shot puts him at ease. It isolates the noise and it allows him to get into a certain frame of mind.
“It blocks everybody out,” said Brandon, a junior guard on the Canisius College men’s basketball team. “You’ve got people from the other team screaming and whatnot, so I feel like if I’m doing something to put me in a rhythm, I’m blocking them out, and that’s going to get me more confident about taking my shot."
Sunday afternoon, an ESPN camera caught the routine as Brandon prepared to take a pair of free throws in a 95-86 win against Rider.
ESPN’s SportsCenter posted footage on Twitter from the Griffs’ game Sunday against Rider, a 25-second clip of Brandon wiggling his hips, bouncing the ball behind his back and extending his right leg and foot the length of the free-throw line.
Within hours, Brandon and the Canisius men’s basketball team had gone viral, and the video has garnered more than 1.7 million views on Twitter.
This free throw routine is something else 🤔 pic.twitter.com/Ly8RNeNE7t
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 20, 2020
Brandon found out from a cousin about the ESPN tweet late Sunday night.
“A few weeks ago, I was on a couple Instagram pages for the routine, like House of Highlights and Ball is Life,” Brandon said Tuesday at the Koessler Athletic Center. “It had probably 2 million views and that was the start of it. It was fun and I was just like, ‘Dang, I’m really going viral right now.’
“But for this one, it was like, ‘Again?’ People were tagging me in the videos and people started following me and commenting on my pictures.”
Teammates also have told Brandon about his newfound social media fame, and Canisius (8-10, 3-4 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference), which plays Friday at Iona, has gotten a new level of exposure because of the video.
“It’s going to help, a lot,” Brandon said. “The more people that watch us, the more people are going to see how much talent we’ve got and what we are able to do, when it comes down to playing. I thought about it like that, too. My brother told me the commentators said we were getting more viewers than normal, and he said, ‘It might be because of Majesty’s free-throw routine.’
“Drawing an audience in, it’s going to help us have more eyes on us, and you don’t know who is watching. It could be life-changing.”
Malik Johnson first saw Brandon’s free-throw routine during the summer, when Brandon worked out at Canisius.
“I was like, ‘No, you’ve got to be joking,’ and he said, ‘No, I really shoot them like that,’ ” said Johnson, a senior point guard.
Then, Johnson saw the video of Brandon’s free throw Sunday night on Twitter. He didn’t expect it to catch virtual fire.
“This one was different, because it was SportsCenter, Slam Magazine, Barstool Sports, and a guy named Filayyyy that a lot of millennials know. Once they made videos, it was crazy. He was everywhere!”
Brandon is averaging 12.7 points per game in his first season at Canisius, in 18 games, and is 15th in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference in scoring.
Brandon is a junior from the Bronx who transferred to Canisius after two seasons at Monroe Community College in Rochester. He began his free-throw routine at Monroe, where he spun the ball on his finger, then went through the elaborate process before taking a shot from the free-throw line.
“It was all about getting in a rhythm,” Brandon said. “People are like, ‘Oh, he’s just trying to put on a show,' but coming from MCC, it was like, it wasn’t really a show to put on. It was just me being me. When I got here, I felt like spinning the ball might be over the top, so I just put some dribbling into it, and still keep the rhythm going.”
The irony of it is that Brandon doesn't use Twitter. He forgot his password to his Twitter account, and hasn’t logged on in nearly a year and a half. Instagram is his social media platform of choice – he has more than 4,900 followers.
As of Tuesday afternoon, he has only four posts on his Instagram page, but three of his five stories included footage or screenshots of his fancy footwork at the free-throw line, including footage from Canisius’ 61-57 win against St. Bonaventure on Nov. 23 at KeyBank Center.
But for those who may have mocked his routine, he’s getting the last laugh. He’s shooting 76.9% from the free-throw line.
“I’m going to keep the routine,” Brandon said. “It’s working."