DERBY, Kan. — The all-star toddler Titus Ashby of Derby, Kan., has not only become a YouTube sensation for his basketball trick shots, but the 2-year-old is a regular on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" and has garnered attention from the Wichita State Shockers.
The toddler, along with his father, Joseph Ashby, first appeared appeared on the "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" TV show in Februrary, and they made a second appearance Thursday night to participate in a shootout with one of the NBA's legendary centers and four-time NBA champion, Shaquille O'Neal.
On the show, each player was given a basketball hoop the size of their own height: O'Neal with 7-foot-1 hoop and Titus with a 3-foot hoop. Per O'Neal's request, the young basketball star took his shot first. With 30 seconds to shoot, Titus was able to knock down eight shots. O'Neal stepped up to take his turn, saying to Kimmel that he was positive he could win. Yet, after 30 seconds of trying to make a basket, O'Neal was unable to secure one point.
Fans cheered for Titus, holding up posters of the toddler's face. Many online fans commended Titus for his success against an NBA legend.
"That kid's gonna realize one day that he beat someone who is arguably the best center in the world," one YouTube commenter said.
In May, the Ashby family, who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also released another video of Titus with cameos of Kimmel and Wichita State's head coach, Gregg Marshall. After viewing several clips of Titus' skills, Marshall asked what year the toddler would graduate.
Titus has also been featured on a national TV commercial produced by Sprint. Just in time for March Madness, Sprint marketers reached out to the Ashby family.
“Once we saw the footage, we all fell in love immediately,” marketing communications manager Sara Mocingo told KSHB. “He’s amazing. It’s been really neat having someone from Kansas in the commercial.”
The original YouTube video of Ashby was posted in February of this year and has more than 11 million views.
"Titus has always loved balls,” said Kristin Ashby, Titus’ mom, in a phone interview with the Deseret News. “He spends maybe 10 percent of his free time playing with toys, and 90 percent of the time he just gets balls and shoots them.”