BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BVM) — Five years ago, Bryson Bishop became an internet sensation after clapping in the face of current NBA star Zion Williamson. The two of them went viral once again as they reunited in New Orleans.
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) October 14, 2022
“My coach texted me out of the blue, he says, ‘Hey, we’re going to do a photo op with you and Zion,’” Bishop said. “I was like, ‘What? How did you pull that off?’ He’s like, ‘The Squadron reached out to us; they wanted you to do it.’ I was looking forward to it for about a week and finally got to it, and it was really fun.”
Along with the two being reunited, the video of Bishop being a 5-foot-6 eighth grader guarding Williamson made its rounds around the internet again. And one could assume the way the internet works today; Bishop may get tired of hearing about the video. That isn’t the case.
“I wouldn’t say that I get sick of it,” Bishop said. “I’m surprised that after as long as it’s been, it still comes up. But there’s also some really good stuff that’s come out of it.”
Alongside the video that has brought him popularity, Bishop has made numerous strides to better himself as a player and person.
“Life has changed a lot since then,” Bishop said. “I’ve gotten a lot better, obviously a lot bigger. I’m at a whole different place in life. It’s cool because I still get recognized from it.”
Even though Bishop has changed, one thing remains the same about him: his competitive spirit. And if the opportunity to face Zion again came about, one could expect Bishop to carry that competitive spirit into that matchup.
“I’m never going to say, ‘I’m not going to be able to score on somebody,’” Bishop said with a smile. “I can hit a jump shot; I don’t know about going into the paint.”
The competitive spirit Bishop has now started when he was growing up. However, Bishop didn’t necessarily go all in on basketball. He stuck with multiple sports.
“Growing up, I was into every sport,” Bishop said. “I played football and travel soccer; I was really good at soccer; I thought about sticking with that for a while. But basketball, I was really good at it when I was little. And I taught myself how to shoot, and I was really natural at it. I was one of those kids that played everything, but for whatever reason, basketball drew me in like no other sport did.”
One of the main reasons Bishop started playing basketball was his view of the sport. Every athlete has some infatuation with their respective sport, and Bishop is no different.
“It’s looked at like an art,” Bishop said. “So is soccer, but a lot of people don’t even like soccer, but I do. I think it’s such an art form, but I see the same thing in basketball. I think of Kyrie [Irving]. Watching Kyrie play, it’s like watching art. He’s so smooth [on the court]. Stuff like that drew me in.”
Viewing the game as an art form is vital to Bishop’s success on the court. Another thing that remains important for Bishop and his play on the court is his mentality and how he prepares for games.
“My mentality is to take whatever the game gives me,” Bishop said. “A lot of times when I was younger, I’d go into games saying, ‘I want to do this, get this [or] make this play.’ I would end up playing bad because I was forcing things. That’s the other thing I like about basketball. Once you get into the game and you let the game move you, it’s a beautiful thing.”
To help him get the right mentality, Bishop watched the film of basketball’s greatest shooters.
“I’ve always looked at films of shooters,” Bishop said. “Obviously, my No. 1 is Steph [Curry]. I love watching Steph play. Now that I’ve gone to college, I’m playing the two here instead of the one. I’ve always played the point. So, I’ve started watching a lot more films on just shooting guards.”
Not only has watching film of the game’s greatest shooters helped Bishop but having the right frame of mind has helped him find success on the court.
“Whenever I get into the mentality of trying to prove myself, I look at that as having a huge ego,” Bishop said. “I try to stay away from that as much as possible because I think that can take you to a place that’s not very healthy. But of course, I’m always trying to get better. And whenever you come into a new school, you have to show people you can play and you earned your spot.”
Bishop has yet to hit the court and show that he can play at the next level. However, Bishop’s choice to join Birmingham-Southern was easy.
“Their offense is very fast-paced, and they shoot a lot of threes,” Bishop said. “Very much my style. And then two, I got to come on a visit, and this was the first visit I got to stay a whole weekend. That helped me learn a lot, and the guys here are guys I want to be around and play with and play for.”
It’s clear that Bishop has the right frame of mind when it comes to athletics. Along with that frame of mind, Bishop has learned some important lessons about athletics.
“One hundred percent don’t make your life about sports,” Bishop said. “For a long time, I did that, and so it be peaks and valleys [in my life], and it’d be a lot more valleys than peaks. For me personally, my relationship with Jesus is the most important thing to me. That’s what I would tell anybody.”
There’s little to no doubt that Bishop’s athletic journey has been and will continue to be unique. With his first collegiate season on the horizon, Bishop is more focused than ever and ready to show others why he loves to play basketball.
“For me, basketball has been a huge part of my life,” Bishop said. “Basketball has opened a lot of doors that I don’t think would’ve been opened if I didn’t play. It’s funny to me how a sport that we as humans put so much attention on can take you to all these places. At the end of the day, it’s shooting a basketball into a hoop.”