Brandon Todd is 5’5″ and can dunk a basketball. At that height, you need a 42+ in vertical leap to have a chance of putting the ball in the hoop. This is pretty insane. Todd trained for three years, putting on 85 lbs of muscle to gain the power needed to dunk.
I was enthralled by the short film on Todd I found via Garry Tan’s Posthaven.
In it he says:
I used to look like I wasn’t even on the [basketball] team. 5’5″ 117 lbs. I didn’t want people to count me out because my height. I was reading an article about russian powerlifitng and I saw this fat russian powerlifter celebrating at the end of competition and he’s like three or four feet in the air.
That’s when I started really studying how they develop explosiveness. I had to do so much ridiculous training. Running and lifting and throwing stuff. just to put a little basketball through a 10 ft cylinder.
People ask me – why do you train so hard? And I say ‘how many people do you know who are 5’5″ and can dunk a basketball?’
Because that’s what it took. Because it’s not normal to jump that high off the ground and take a basketball with you, and then land safely. It’s not normal. It’s not something everyone is doing. But now, some kid somewhere might hear about my story and think ‘Oh, he’s as tall as me! If he can do it, maybe someday I can do too.”
As I prepare to launch my book, Winning Isn’t Normal, I felt this story really struck me as a great example of the W.I.N. philosophy. Todd wanted to do something audacious. Something most people never do. And he started from a point of disadvantage. But he was relentlessly resourceful, and he committed to his goal, and kept pushing through the 20 mile march.
And eventually, he got the job done.
My favorite quote from Todd comes at the end:
Just because the road you chose doesn’t have pavement, doesn’t mean you can’t walk on it.