At the end of last month, I spiralled into the depths of a YouTube rabbit hole and became a new consumer of a niche culture of basketball. Instead of conducting my nighttime routine, I had fallen into a bottomless abyss of hoop content. This unplanned journey began when I stumbled upon a thumbnail in my Instagram Explore page of what appeared to be the beginning stages of a pick-up basketball fight, with subtitles reading “Watch your hand.” The IG video featured competitive high-octane park basketball, with slippery crossovers and acrobatic layups, concluding with a clean, behind-the-back dribble move into a vicious self-alley-oop dunk.

Immediately after watching the clip, I was compelled to click onto K Showtime’s IG page and venture to his YouTube channel in order to see the full video. For the next 30 minutes I was fully locked in, witnessing K Showtime and his squad dismantle various pickup teams at a Scarborough outdoor court. The basketball was aggressive, highly skilled, layered with smack talk, and included energetic moments that often resulted in fans swarming the court to cheer on or heckle a specific player. Consuming one video turned into seven more.

Kevon Watt, more commonly known as K Showtime, is a 20-year-old Canadian hooper at the forefront of a fresh wave of YouTube basketball content. Born and raised in Toronto’s Jane and Finch neighbourhood, Showtime is a rising Internet sensation, climbing from 25,000 subscribers in August to presently over 190,000. His exponential growth can be attributed to multiple viral videos on YouTube and Instagram, co-signs from pro-hoopers, and his friendship with Drake, who was featured in one of his recent videos.

Showtime has claimed the title of Canada’s park-run ambassador, putting Toronto on the map in a new world of basketball content creators. The rise of Instagram pages and platforms like BallIsLife and House of Highlights, along with YouTubers such as Nick Briz, CRSWHT, D’Vontay Friga, has allowed pickup ball content to blossom to an astronomical level, garnering millions of views and likes online. Showtime joins the fold of viral creators by showcasing the energy in Toronto and highlighting basketball culture in the city in a new light.

We caught up with K Showtime to chat about his story and come up on YouTube, his friendship with Drake, community, and his future plans. 

What’s good Showtime? Hope you’re doing well, man. Let’s get right into it. What was your early basketball career like?
What’s going on man? Yeah, in Grade 10, I went to a prep high school in Kentucky, called Wesley Christian and came back to Canada in my last year and attended Downsview High School. I didn’t have to go there, but I went there because it was in the hood, you know, and I wanted to bring them an OFSAA championship. I actually got kicked off the team in my last year of highschool. A lot of people don’t actually know that, though. After that I was like, whatever… I  didn’t get offers to play JUCO and I didn’t want to play CIS.

Damn, you were definitely JUCO-bound for sure, probably even D1-bound. Can you share why you got kicked off the team?
Yeah, honestly it was kind of stupid. I don’t really understand till this day. But basically I think it’s because I was the leader of the team and our coach wanted us to draw up plays and we drew them up already. I told my teammates that I’m not going to draw them up again, and everyone listened to me. After that he kicked off a bunch of people, and brought them back—but he didn’t bring me back for some reason.

Wow, he was hating!
[Laughs] Yeah man, it was dumb for real—he needed me to win also, but it was just a pride thing.

Wild. So, after high school, was organized basketball for you over? Did you continue to play on any teams?
After high school, I was done with ball. I just focused on YouTube and started making videos with girls and just having fun.

I peeped that actually! So, I saw the switch-up when I looked at your YouTube channel. Seven months ago, your channel consisted of pranks and content with women and then it transitioned to strictly basketball. What was your mindset like during the pivot? Was this a conscious decision?
Honestly, I wanted to do more stuff than make videos with girls. I was watching YouTubers create basketball videos in America—no one was doing it in Toronto, so I just wanted to try a thing. And it just went up from there.

Yeah man, your growth has been astronomical and you’ve even brought Americans to come and hoop in Toronto. That Cam Wilder video was hilarious, bro. The whole build-up to him coming over here to play was on point. How did that come about?
Yeah, Cam hit me in the DMs and said he’s trying to do a takeover in Toronto and team up for it. I told him that I’m down, but I think it would be better if we played against each other.

That’s crazy. Yeah, from your video titles, trailers, and storylines in each video, I can tell that you’re talented at producing and putting together people and teams. Do you have a consistent five players you run with?
I would say I have a main four that I play runs with. It’s me, Frosty, Mayo, and Grizz.

Do you edit your own videos or do you have a production team?
Yeah, I edit everything myself, and all my videos are filmed by HesiFilms and Patrick Koska.

“[Drake] saw one of my videos that went viral and then one of my boys sent me a screenshot of him calling me out. I didn’t see it initially. We started talking in the DMs and he said he wanted to send me OVO gear.”

It’s awesome that everything is in-house. Any plans of branching out of YouTube and doing other things?
Oh, 100 percent! You know I’m a jack of all trades. I don’t like to stick with one thing. You know, if one thing falls off, then you’re done, right?

[Laughs.] I can tell, bro. Man dropped a diss track after beating Cam Wilder—that shit was jokes. What music are you listening to right now?
Lil Baby, Lil Durk, and G Herbo, primarily.

How did Drake come across your videos? As someone who’s from the city, what’s it like being tapped in with him and to have him featured in a video?
He saw one of my videos that went viral and then one of my boys sent me a screenshot of him calling me out. I didn’t see it initially. We started talking in the DMs and he said he wanted to send me OVO gear. We got on a FaceTime call and he told me to pull up to the crib after I asked him when he was coming home. It’s pretty crazy, to be honest. You know, I don’t think he’s done that for anyone who makes content over here like that.

That’s dope for real, man. Super genuine and organic. You know, from what I see on social media and in your vlog with him at the Raptors game, I get the sense that y’all are close for real and that’s big bro to you.
Yeah, most def. I’m with him and the guys often, I just don’t post it often and shit. I appreciate all the love from him and OVO for real.

I hear you, man. Is he actually good at ball?
Yeah, he actually is. He’s good. I honestly thought he would be worse because of the way social media portrays him. He can shoot for real. We played a day before the video came out, and the score was up to 11, and he scored nine out of 11 points—just from shooting. He’s good for sure.

“I just want to show people that you don’t have to pick up a gun or sell drugs. I mean, look at me: I’m from Jane and trying to use my platform to bring the community together, all through ball.” 

[Laughs.] Real. You know there’s a lot going on with rappers and ball right now. What other artists are you trying to play, who’s on the hit list?
[Laughs.] Yeah man, I definitely want to play Polo G, Quavo, Lil Durk, DDG, Lil TJ. Tory Lanez would be hilarious. YK Osiris too.

How would you describe your game? Is there any aspect that you’re currently working on more?
Shifty, a dog, explosive. And yeah, definitely my shot—if you really pay attention to my videos, you’ll see all I really do is layups and drive. I don’t shoot often, so if I work on that I’ll be able to score easier. It’ll help me stay healthy. I’ve hurt my ankle a lot.

So, you often say, “I’m from the trenches.” We hear a lot about the negatives of Jane and Finch in the media, even though there are so many talented artists and athletes from that neighbourhood. What was growing up in Jane and Finch like?
Man, there’s a lot of talented people in Jane and Finch, but there’s so much beef. A lot of people are always competing with each other and caught up in the violence. I just want to show people that you don’t have to pick up a gun or sell drugs. I mean look at me: I’m from Jane and trying to use my platform to bring the community together, all through ball. 

Toronto basketball sensation K Showtime
Image via Patrick Koska

Man, that’s honestly so commendable. Shoutout to you for real. Talk to me about the charity initiative you organized called Back 2 School Park Takeover.
Yeah, it was held at Lakeshore Village Park. I wanted to do something for the community, because I knew school was starting soon. So, I posted about it and asked for help organizing it. People hit me up and helped me with getting an ice cream truck. I went out of my way to pay for the books and bags, and facilitated some barbers to come out. It was a great initiative, honestly.

That’s amazing, bro. Are there any other community drives or initiatives you want to do later on also?
For sure. I really want to build a new community centre in the middle of Jane and Finch, and build some courts around it, because there’s some shitty courts out there, man.

With basketball in Canada becoming more popular and us seeing more players go D1 and play professionally, what’s your outlook on the landscape of ball in the country?
Yeah, ball in Canada is on the right path for sure. Before, not really so. I feel like we need more mentors over here and the right people in the player’s ears telling you what to do. Realistically, growing up I didn’t have someone telling me to take academic classes and all that. It’s very different now, you really don’t even have to go to high school in America right now in order to make it.

That’s a great perspective, man. So you’ve had viral success from here in Toronto, created a video with Drake and other rappers, are you looking to go stateside soon? What do you think L.A. would look like for you?
For sure, yeah. I’m trying to go to L.A. in the next month or so. I feel like in Toronto, there’s a lot of good hoopers that are actually better than Americans, but just don’t get the recognition. So, I’m most definitely trying to show Americans that Toronto is still being slept on.

I think when I go to L.A., I’ll start getting the most views and more subscriptions—I won’t lie. Everyone wants me to go to America. People are begging and waiting for me to come and play out there. Literally sending me threats and shit. [Laughs.] Once I go there and take over, that’s when shit is going to be even more popping. I have a lot of big names and collaborations to do over there also, a lot of people want to play with and against me. 

That’s for sure going to be dope to see, man. Appreciate you bro! Is there anything you’d like to wrap up with man?
[Laughs.] I started this. Some people get it confused, but yeah—I started this.