Buckets Blakes was born and raised in Phoenix and still lives in the Valley of the Sun, and his first exposure to basketball was watching the Phoenix Suns at the age of five. To make his own hoop, he would cut a hole in the top of his dad’s hat, flip it over and shoot a tennis ball through it.
Years of practice from that point forward made him one of the most accurate shooters around (hence the name “Buckets”). He can fill it up in many different ways, like when he broke the Guinness World Records® record for the most basketball underhanded half-court shots in one minute, dropping six – one more than the previous record. He actually made those six shots in just 46 seconds.
On the Globetrotters' very first World Trick Shot Day (Dec. 6, 2016), Buckets nailed the highest shot ever recorded in North America. From the top of the Tower of the Americas in San Antonio, Buckets made a 583-foot basketball shot to a hoop located below.
His parents are his heroes, because they always involved Buckets and his nine siblings in positive things. He made them proud by earning his bachelor’s degree in psychology in January of 2012 by taking online courses. Despite the demands of entertaining people all over the world year-round, Buckets made the Dean’s List three times while completing his courses.
One of his favorite childhood basketball memories was when he finally stole the basketball from his older cousin, who taught him how to dribble. “He was one of the best basketball players in the state, and he would never just give me the ball; I had to try and steal it every time,” explains Buckets. “When I finally stole it from him, my confidence soared, and my fate in the game of basketball was sealed.”
Buckets was not only an outstanding basketball player growing up, but he also lettered in track and football in high school. As his basketball talents grew, his high school coach, Michael Ellsworth, showed him that hard work pays off, both on and off the court.
He took that work ethic to Arizona Western College, and then to the University of Wyoming, where he was team captain and MVP his junior and senior seasons, leading the team in rebounding, assists and steals as a junior. As a senior, Buckets was one of only two Mountain West Conference players to finish in the top 15 in scoring, rebounding and assists.
Buckets enjoys working with and mentoring kids, so he relishes the opportunities he’s had to present the Globetrotters’ various community outreach programs all over the world as an Ambassador of Goodwill™. During the fall of 2017, Buckets had the unique opportunity to travel to Lithuania and Estonia as part of the U.S. State Department’s Sports Envoy program, where he and his teammate, Ace Jackson, presented the team’s renowned anti-bullying program and conducted basketball clinics to thousands of kids.
He sees himself running his own gym someday and helping kids build character and self-esteem through sports mentoring. He encourages youngsters to, “Be the best ‘you’ that you can be, because it’s very difficult to try and be someone else.”