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Dude Perfect before fame

Before They Were Famous

Before Dude Perfect would have high profile guests like Russell Wilson, Paul Rudd, Serena Williams, Luke Brown, Odell Beckham Jr in their videos.

Before they would break world records with their impossible stunts, gaining 9.7 million youtube subscribers, 17 million Facebook fans, and 2.6 million Instagram followers.

Before the 5 friends and a panda became national sensations, getting endorsements from Nerf, Marvel, Bass Pro Shops, Fiat, and Pringles.

Before their video game was downloaded over 17 million times, letting their fans rack up points doing trick shots.

These five friends were all brought up in Texas and along with shooting hoops they spent most of their Sundays at church. They didn’t meet there because they decided to skip out on their prayers, instead they  found one another while looking for other Christian roommates in university. 

One day while putting off studying for their finals, they started doing some ridiculous trick shots, and someone had the sense to start recording it all. From there, they found out that God had a much bigger plan for the 5 friends or at least Youtube did.

The members of Dude Perfect include Tyler Toney, Cory and Coby Cotton, Cody Jones, and Garrett Hilbert.

A bunch of good ol’ texas boys. All five were basketball players, but what you may not know is that it was actually their religion that brought these fellas together.

Tyler Toney was born in Plano Texas on March 24 1989. His earliest memories are of him going to church with his family and he grew up in a devout Christian household. They went to Mass every Sunday, and he attended Awanas an international evangelical nonprofit organization, and youth groups regularly.

Cory and Coby Cotton are twins, born on July 17 1987… but Coby popped out a few seconds before so he earned the title of twin #1. Their father was a pastor but he didn’t force Christianity upon his boys, he wanted them to make a choice for themselves whether or not they believed in it.

Cody Jones, born October 9, 1987 was also very involved in his church and youth groups and remembers them being a lot of fun. Garett was born May 13 1987, but for him church didn’t play a pivotal role in his life until later.

All five were basketball players in their respective high schools and when they graduated, ended up going to Texas A&M University.

While there Cody started to feel like he was living selfishly and losing sight of his faith. After three months of ‘sinning’ he broke down and asked God for forgiveness. After hearing that now I got a feeling these boys  wouldn’t be fans of my show Beer4Breakfast.

Call it divine intervention, but the 5 of them met while looking for fellow Christians to be roommates with. It didn’t take long for Cody and Garrett to room with the other three and soon they were getting along like Forrest and Jenny.

While procrastinating during finals they started shooting hoops and they started one-upping each other. Tyler was gearing up to do an especially complex shot, and said to his friends if he made it, they owed him lunch. Their buddy Sean set down a camera on the window ledge, and 20 tries later, Tyler swished it.

They freaked out and continued to film themselves as they attempted the impossible. While editing the video they found inspiration for their channel name. When their buddy turned on the camera to record Tyler saw the frame and said ‘Dude Perfect!’. The twins, Coby and Cory, thought it was a fitting name, and their youtube channel was born.

They uploaded the video on April 8 2009 and within a week the video had been watched 100 thousand times.

To follow that up, they filmed a bunch more trick shots while at Sky Ranch, a Christian summer camp. They upped the ante by putting the hoop on moving targets, or ride on the back of trucks themselves. It went viral, and for every 100 000 views the group of pals sponsored a child.

Their generosity attracted the attention of television channels and the group was approached by ESPN for a segment.

In that segment they went to their university’s football stadium where Tony set a world-record with a shot from the third deck that travelled for almost 4 seconds before it went in the hoop.  The video got 2 million views in two hours.

A lot of people started to question the authenticity of the shots. Good Morning America actually devoted a whole segment about the tricks complete with expert analysis. But they couldn’t find anything that proved they were fake.

Then they got their first paid gig from the NBA Sacramento King’s. The team wanted to promote Tyreke Evans who was a runner for Rookie of the Year in 2010. The two collaborated on a video, and when he ended up winning the award, Dude Perfect was set.

Initially three of the members held on to their jobs while the other two took to it full-time, but the more they saw of the business side of Youtube, the more they saw the promise of a day job doing what they love.

In 2011 Tyler married his girlfriend Bethany, and Garrett married his lady Kristin. Just as their channel started getting sponsors and more mainstream exposure, the guys started feeling a bit of hate from their followers.

The Youtube community is loyal, but also very protective, and the fear of them ‘selling out’ was a real threat. They made sure to work with brands that would allow them to do even crazier tricks, like collaborating with GMC to make this possible.

By crazy stunts like that they maintained their community and expanded their material to include more comedic content. Their ‘Stereotypes’ episodes focus on common tropes in the sporting world, and have been some of their most viewed videos. They’ve also gone on to interview a handful of NBA stars like Lebron and Kobe and more recently went over the Atlantic to work with the soccer team Manchester City.

It’s clear that Dude Perfect is having the time of their lives, but they want to do more then just swish basketballs. All of them are devout in their religious beliefs and have said their ultimate goal is to glorify Jesus Christ through what they do.

And the rest of the story, you know the rest of it because this is before they were famous.

 





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