Josh Adams watches it every now and again. Not nearly as much as he used to. But sometimes, when he needs a boost, he goes to the Internet to see himself fly.
“Anytime my confidence is down, I go and check it out,” he said. “I go and see what I can do.”
The YouTube video has more than 294,000 views now. It was uploaded in March, shortly after Adams, then a high school senior and Wyoming basketball recruit, made the play that delivered his team -- Chaparral High in Parker, Colo. -- its first state championship in boys basketball.
The video starts and Adams’ team is ahead by two in overtime. The opponent -- Arapahoe High -- scores to tie the game 67-67.
Nine seconds are on the clock when Chaparral throws the ball in bounds. Three and a half when a Chaparral player heaves an off-target 3-pointer that will surely send the game into a second overtime. Adams sidesteps a defender and breaks for the rim with 2.9 seconds left. His face is in the net at a second and a half. His left hand tips the ball. It drops in.
69-67. Zeros appear.
Adams celebrates. He hugs his family members, his brother, Jordan Adams, who plays basketball at Western State and jumps just like him. He hugs his dad, Phillip Adams, who was a high jumper in college and taught his sons to improve their leaping ability with box jumps and the old-fashioned way, with jump rope.
Later, the video appears online and Adams doubles his number of Twitter followers. Approximately 500 people he had never met, people from New Mexico and California and Pennsylvania respond.
“Incredible!” they tell him.
He goes into a store to buy a video game. The kid behind the counter recognizes him.
“You’re that kid from Chaparral, right?” the cashier says. “They call you the kid that walks on air.”
At this point in the story, Adams laughs. The freshman guard, listed generously at 6-foot-2, is proud to be an Internet hit. And during a season where he is adjusting from being a star high school player to a freshman who comes off the bench, the video gives him encouragement.
“It was cool to see that a person from a small city like Parker -- in a basketball state that is not really known for players -- to have that kind of impact,” Adams said. “To already be committed to a school like this, and kind of help Wyoming get on the map a little bit more, was just awesome.”
The player who first dunked the summer heading into his sophomore year can now fly higher than ever. He had a 33-inch vertical as a junior. Before Wyoming started the season, he was measured at 45.
“He has some impressive leaping capabilities,” senior forward Leonard Washington said. “Most guys, at that height, can’t jump that high.”
Right now Adams averages 3.5 points and just less than 19 minutes per game. The bulk of UW's scoring comes from more experienced players like Washington and senior guard Luke Martinez. But when Adams gets his chances, he shows his springs.
He dunks. He soars for rebounds. He gets to the free-throw line and creates separation from defenders.
“It gives me a little bit of an edge,” Adams said. “Because they don’t expect it. Once people see what I can do, they have to respect that part of my game.”
If opponents don't respect it, Adams sprints then leaps, just like he did against Arapahoe, just like he has since he first grabbed rim.
When he lands, people know.
“It never gets old,” Adams said. “They have that look on their face. It’s like … ‘What is this?’”