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Michael Kruse has a really interesting feature in the Tampa Bay Times titled "Meet the most marketed 12-year-old basketball player in the world." The article is about Julian Newman, a 6th grader at Downey Christian School in Orlando, who has been featured on ESPN and the New York Times in addition to having highlight videos on Youtube that have garnered millions of views. Here's an excerpt from the piece:
The photographer from People magazine pointed his camera at Julian Newman. Stripped along one side of the basketball court by the gym's few rows of metal bleachers was yellow tape that said CAUTION.
"Big smile," the photographer said.
This kid over the last 14 or so months has been on local TV and national TV. He has been on ESPN and Conan O'Brien. He has been on the front of the sports section of the Sunday New York Times.
He plays on the varsity team at small Downey Christian School in Orlando even though he's 12 years old and in the sixth grade. He's 4 feet 9, weighs barely more than 90 pounds, and wears midshin, multicolored socks and size 6 Nikes.
So here was People, celebrity culture's ultimate arbiter. A smiling Julian dribbled furiously, between his legs and back and forth, the sounds of the bouncing ball mixing with rapid camera clicks and brief, blinding bursts of flash.