Carlos Famous Los Sanford is what you would call a young O.G. of viral videos. Before taking over Instagram he started making videos on Vine in 2011 where the 28-year-old Durham, North Carolina native became one of the funniest personalities on social media after his video of walking to grandma house went viral.
Thats his talent. Whether its the multitude of ways people react when they lose a pickup game or quoting Black Panther when clowning LeBron James for getting swept in this years NBA Finals, Los has an uncanny way of nailing the nuance of how sports fans brains operate and translating it on the screen.
After dislocating his knee three times in college, effectively derailing his dreams of going pro, channeling his basketball dreams into viral videos become a refuge for him to gain a renewed sense of purpose. Ive had one job. I worked 3 months, and it was hell. I wanted to find a way in life using my brain, using my skills. Basketball is all I know, he told The Shadow League. Thats why I make these videos, and they wont stop.
Now, hes a crossover social media star with more than one million followers on Instagram, appearing on the feeds of Los Angeles Laker player Kyle Kuzma, New York Giants Odell Beckham Jr, as well as Golden State Warriors phenom Steph Curry, among other sports stars. But, hes also popping up on sports fans TVs in the first NBA commercial of the season.
Shadow League spoke with Los about chatting with Steph Curry after Game 7 of the 2018 Western Conference Finals, why he doesn’t believe in LeBron James’ Los Angeles Lakers, and just how he went from making fun of NBA players to actually working with them.
You were just in a new NBA commercial. The first one of the new season. How did that come about?
My manager was working his fingers to the bone getting your boy right. It’s my first time ever being on TV. This is not NBA TV. I loved being on NBA TV, but everybody ain’t got NBA TV. Everyone has TNT. They going to be playing that commercial back to back to back. That’s like a whole movie to me.
How do you choose what to make fun of in basketball?
Basketball is universal, so everybody does the same thing in the same gyms around the world. If you go to LA Fitness and you’re not a good player, you act a certain way. You go to a regular gym, and you’re the best player, and you act a certain way.
You play ball yourself, and have for a while. Does that inform the videos you make?
Yeah, it s based on my experiences of going into every gym and seeing what goes on in every gym. I’ve been playing basketball for 20 years. It’s all I know.
You’ve amassed a huge following on social media, especially in the NBA space. Have any guys from the NBA that follow you reached out about the videos you make?
I started doing the Steph Curry videos and it really stuck with me. Everybody knew from those videos. They won [Game 7 of 2018 Western Conference Finals] and Steph DM’ed me, “What’s your number?” I DM’ed my number then I remembered I changed my number. So, then I DM’ed him my new number, and he Facetimed me in the locker room right after the game. He said “We did that for you. You’ve been rocking with us so long. We love you.”
People have been saying that the new Lakers are going to be The Meme Team because of all of the known characters they have since LeBron James joined. What are some things you think will happen this season with that team that could end up on your IG?
Mannnn, what you trying to start, bro? Well, before I say anything. I like [Kyle Kuzma], I like Lonzo [Ball]. Who else is a new player? I like Lance [Stephenson]. Oh, and [Josh] Hart surprised me in the Summer League. But the Summer League and the season are totally different. It’s like junior varsity and varsity. I think it’s going to be some weird stuff going on because if Lonzo plays before Rondo, is that right? Are we looking for promo or we looking for basketball? I be worrying about a lot of stuff about the NBA nowadays. Are we getting people for basketball or are we getting people for promo? Even though Lonzo’s good, and that was one of my favorite players in high school and when he went to UCLA. But, when you get to the NBA you got to keep me. You feel me?
They say they’re going to be the Meme Team because of what? Because they’re young, and they got LeBron. Now they have LeBron so everybody says they’re going to win. They’re going to be a playoff team. But now, LeBron’s not coming off passing to Kevin Love. I think LeBron is going to realize how effective Kevin Love was, and how effective Jeff Green is. He’s going to really miss those guys when he sees how difficult it is playing with these young boys. I really think LeBron should’ve just stayed at his crib. I really don’t see this working when it comes to the NBA because the Warriors got DeMarcus Cousins.
What was your college career like?
My college ball career is really trashy. I went to Lincoln Memorial University. I played there for three years, and it literally changed my whole game. I wasn’t the same player no more. Then, I transferred to another college, and I came back and gave them 20. Before college, I averaged 25 points. I went to college and averaged 3 points. It was so different. My knee messed up when I was at Lincoln Memorial. When I went to the other school I was the GA, general assistant, the coach for the JV. We only had nine players that I coached, so I was playing and practicing with them, and messed my knee again. I went there just to try to graduate so I could go pro. But, I dislocated my knee like three times, and at that time, I was done with everything. I was done with the world. I was done with everybody after that last knee thing. I had three surgeries in one.
Who would you say is the most unintentionally funny player in the NBA?
I’m going with Demarcus Cousins. He just funny. Dog, he’s so serious, and that’s funny. [Laughs] When he was doing the [post-game interview] saying “This is ridiculous.” You know how funny that was? [Laughs].
Social media has been around long enough for it to become an actual industry where people can generate money and brands can invest in. As a result, there are sort of “best practices” when it comes to making viral videos. What would you say are some of the components that go into making a video go viral?
Being you. We’ve seen somebody take a normal phone, throw a water bottle and have it land on the bottom and go stupid viral. It’s really sickening. [Laughs].
You are also doing music. How much has that been part of who you are?
Music was what I always did. I always freestyled. I always rapped. Music is just me. I don’t lie in my raps. I don’t talk about guns. I don’t talk about killing people. I’m trying to give out vibes with my music.
Do you have plans for an album or a mixtape?
Yeah, I did. When you jump into a different lane, you realize it’s not as easy. It’s kind of structured. I was having a tough time structuring an actual mixtape, that’s why I just dropped the single. [Laughs]
Lets get some of your season picks. Who’s winning rookie of the year?
Who’s winning the NBA title?
The Warriors. I’m sorry. It’s over, dog.
Who are they facing in the Finals?
Boston [Celtics]. Quote me on that.
What seed do you see the Lakers ending in this season in the west?
I think 8.
Oh, damn. If they’re an 8-seed then they’re getting swept out the first round.
Because it’s going to be Rockets or Warriors as the 1 seed.
That’s what I’m saying. First of all, you talking about the conference [finals]? Conference [Finals] ain’t going to be no Lakers.
How many more titles do you see the Warriors winning in the next three years?
Two more in a row. People are so worried about not being able to beat the Warriors instead of worrying about beating the Warriors. When you get away from the fact that Stephen Curry can hit a lot of three’s, let’s focus on stopping him from hitting three’s and posting him up. I’m only saying two because, dang, if somebody doesn’t beat em, me and my boys going to come through.
Which player is going to have the most lit IG this season?
LeBron James probably. That man is the social media king right now.