Joseph Odhiambo has been doing ball handling tricks for about seven years. And he works pretty hard at it. Recently, his efforts paid off when he was notified by Guinness World Records, which used to be known as the Guinness Book of World Records, that one of his efforts has been recognized by them. He is now officially noted as the world record holder for dribbling six basketballs simultaneously. Joseph has lived in the Phoenix area for more than ten years. He is originally from Nairobi, Kenya. Because he is such an interesting individual, I requested an interview, and Joseph gladly obliged. Here is the result of that interview:
Phoenix Guide: How long have you been doing this and what made you get started?
Joseph Odhiambo: I was speaking at a local school in Phoenix and later after the assembly, a student mentioned that his father knew someone who could dribble four basketballs. On my way home, I stopped by the library to check the Guinness Book of Records. Sure enough, there were three people who had demonstrated the ability to dribble four basketballs simultaneously for one minute. I decided that I was going to make a run at the record.
I have been doing ball-handling tricks for six years now. When my father passed away in 1994 from throat cancer, he left a big void in my heart. I took time off from work to try and deal with his death, however, nothing seemed to give me peace. While working at a basketball camp in Prescott, I saw a tape of the world's best female ball-handler, Tanya Crevier. I was so inspired by her presentation, I promised to be able to do all her tricks the following summer. When I got home that evening, I officially started my ball-handing practice.
Phoenix Guide: Tell us a little about how you practice and how often.
Joseph Odhiambo: I wrote down what I wanted to practice and set out the next day early in the morning. For the next five to six months, I practiced an average of six hours each day. I started in the morning at 9 a.m. to noon. I came home, had lunch, then viewed the tape of the morning practice. I went back from 2 to 5 p.m. for the afternoon practice. After a short rest, I went back to the evening practice from 7 to 9 p.m. In the morning, I practice dribbling, afternoon juggling, and evening spinning. Starting with one basketball, I work my way to four basketballs in dribbling and juggling, and 10 basketballs in spinning. Since then, I have pushed the dribbling to six basketballs, juggling to five and spinning to 24 basketballs.
Phoenix Guide: Do you have other unique talents?
Joseph Odhiambo: I don't think I have any unique talent other than being persistent. I can play the accordion, flute, and I was a good discus and shot putter in high school. In fact, I still hold the Kenya Secondary Schools and College records in both events. If it was not for basketball, I could have gone to the 1988 Olympics as a discus thrower. I don't call any of these special talents because when I started, I was just an average athlete. However, my faith, persistence, patience, and hard work put me over the top.
Next Page >> Interview, continued