Welcome to Creators on the Rise, where—in partnership with global creator company Jellysmack—we find and profile breakout creators who are in the midst of extraordinary growth.
Chris Staples is a former Harlem Globetrotter, a world Slam Dunk Champion, has two Guinness World Records for slam dunking, was a contestant on The Bachelorette, is currently acting in Hollywood–and, oh, by the way, he’s also making a go of doing the content creator thing, too.
Needless to say, he’s not busy at all.
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Back before all of this, he knew it was the kind of life he wanted. Or, at least, he knew he wanted to join the Globetrotters, which in itself is a lofty goal. What he didn’t know was how the Globetrotters (which, for those of you who don’t know, is an exhibition basketball team whose performances combine the traditional athleticism of basketball with theatrics and comedy) did their application process.
So, to get the metaphorical and non-metaphorical ball rolling, he sent them an email. And attached to that email, he sent a video of himself showing off his slam dunking skills.
Within weeks, he had an in-person audition. Not long after that, he became an official Globetrotter.
Now that he’s retired from the Globetrotters, he’s got a whole new lineup of pursuits. One of his main focuses is content creation on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube, where (thanks to some advice from a friend) he’s started to grow a significant following by posting consistently on YouTube Shorts.
Check out our chat with him below.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Tubefilter: I’m familiar with you and with your content, but for anybody who’s reading or watching this and maybe doesn’t know who you are, can you give me a little bit of information about you and where you’re from?
Chris Staples: Yes. My name is Chris Staples, and I grew up in the suburban area of Detroit, Michigan. I currently live in Los Angeles, California. Former Harlem Globetrotter, Slam Dunk Champion. I have two Guinness World Records for slam dunking the ball in different ways. Also do a lot of acting in Los Angeles, California. I’ve been doing content for about, well, at least for YouTube, for about three years now.
Tubefilter: So, you’re not busy at all.
Chris Staples: Not busy at all. Light schedule.
Tubefilter: How did you get cast in the Globetrotters?
Chris Staples: With the Globetrotters, I actually just sent them an email, like an email video of me just doing some slam dunks, and they responded to the email. They brought me out to a tryout and I just performed it there. It was pretty simple. It was a pretty simple process for me. I’m not sure if it’s always like that, but I feel like I was lucky enough to get the opportunity.
Tubefilter: How did you transition into making content?
Chris Staples: As far as making content up, I started to transition pretty much when I started to get more traction on my page. I started to listen to the comments that were coming in. I would try to get creative and then just hanging around with people that are always doing different types of content. I started to hang around those types of people, and it just encouraged me to do it more.
Tubefilter: What made you choose YouTube as your platform? Did you grow up with YouTube? Did you always aspire to be on YouTube, or what particularly drew you to YouTube?
Chris Staples: Well, as far as growing up on YouTube, I had a YouTube page, but I never really used it. I didn’t know the benefits of YouTube and things like that and how I could be a person who actually took advantage of the platform. Then I ran into a guy who has been on YouTube for a long time. He showed me the way, showed me the ropes, and helped me start my own page, and I’ve been going ever since.
Tubefilter: Got it. I noticed you’ve been focusing a lot on short-form content lately. Can you talk a little bit about why short-form is so good for you?
Chris Staples: With short-form, I was actually at a gym. One of my friends who did not have a lot of followers at the time, he was telling me that I should start posting Shorts. That’s what he does. It started to help his following grow. This was back in October of 2021, I believe. That was really early. They weren’t even considered Shorts yet. It was posted as a short-form video, but there was no button to say “Shorts.” It was just a video, but they were going crazy.
So I took some advice from someone who does not even have YouTube, and I started to post. He told me, he’s like, “Well, if you’re getting like 10,000 views every time you post a Short, what if you just posted 10 Shorts a week? You get 100,000 views within the week.” I’m like, “That’s actually pretty good.”
I started posting Shorts, but I wasn’t getting 10,000 views. I was getting like 10 million views. It really boosted my followers, and it actually helped me get more creative with this work.
Tubefilter: What’s your current production process like? Are you currently focusing more on short-form? Are you still doing long-form? How are things working for you?
Chris Staples: I’m still doing long-form. They’re actually taking a little bit longer than usual because I just changed editing companies. I do a lot of short-form all the time. I’m posting Shorts consistently. Then the long-forms I’m posting biweekly. That’s the goal. With long-form, obviously, it’s a lot more editing that’s involved. I just changed my editing company now, so it’s a little bit of a delay, but usually posting biweekly is my goal.
Tubefilter: Who else do you work with behind the scenes? You work with an editing company, who else do you work with to help you put things together?
Chris Staples: I work with an editing company, but it’s a lot with the people I work with. As far as the other creators, I do a lot of collaborations. People with like Josh Horton, Jenna Bandy, The Professor, big-time creators who’ve been in YouTube space for a while.
Tubefilter: What do you feel has helped your platform grow the most? Do you feel like it’s these collaborations? Was there a specific video or type of video that really took off?
Chris Staples: I believe, with my platform, I’m pretty unique when it comes to slam dunking. What I do is try to expand it, not to just slam dunk, but to make games out of it. Like you said, the collaborations are a big part, but I think just the uniqueness of slam dunking and making the most of it.
Tubefilter: Got you. Obviously, like you said, you are very busy. How do things work on the average week for you in terms of balancing content and everything else you’re doing? Do you have a set schedule or do you make time here and there?
Chris Staples: I don’t have a set schedule, but usually I’m talking to people at night to figure out the next day. Sometimes a few days in advance. I set my schedule up when I’m at the end of each day, what I’m going to do the next day. Sometimes it’s random, sometimes it’s super planned out. It’s a very difficult task to manage, but the more you do it, the easier it becomes, whether I’m editing or shooting content, it becomes easier.
Tubefilter: What do you think is the number one thing that’s helped you grow as a creator?
Chris Staples: I think the number one thing was unique content and consistency. Doing something that you really don’t see too much of on the internet, but at the same time post it consistently. Instead of always being with the trends, make your own trend, and the more you post it, the more engagement you’re going to get, and the more you’ll start to think outside the box on your next post. I think that’s what’s helped me the most.
@everybodyhatechriss Replying to @bas1charles how many did I make? For all those in the comments wondering why it says Tyrese, this is rehearsal but THIS IS ME! #dunker ♬ The Champion – Lux-Inspira
Tubefilter: Are you focusing on any other platforms or is it just YouTube that’s your priority?
Chris Staples: No, I’m on TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat. On Instagram I do a lot as far as collaborations. On TikTok, not so much. I’m not sure if we can do collaborations on TikTok, so the only collaboration will probably be Instagram.
Tubefilter: Do you feel like you’re reaching similar audiences on different platforms or do you feel like they’re separate audiences?
Chris Staples: I believe on YouTube it’s more of the younger group. I believe on Instagram I get more of the older people, like maybe people my age, a little bit younger. Then when it comes to TikTok, I feel like it’s a young group.
Tubefilter: Got it. What are your aspirations with content? You’ve got obviously got a bunch of different pursuits that you have, but what are your plans and goals with content specifically?
Chris Staples: Well, with content, I would love to obviously continue to grow. I’m getting close to a million subscribers on YouTube now, but I just want to be able to take it to the next level and actually have a designated camera guy or designated editor each and every single time on every single video. I want to one day maybe have my own office where I can sit down and we come get a team of people to help the channel go to the next level.
Tubefilter: How has your content evolved from you’re starting your channel to now? Have you made any adjustments in how you do things?
Chris Staples: Things have evolved because, just a few years ago, I really didn’t know how to speak on camera or have a certain YouTube lingo. People say “like” and “subscribe” and “intro” and “outros.” I had no knowledge of that, but the more I started to do it, I started to watch more videos and just study, and I think now there’s a lot more flow with my content and it’s more genuine when I’m explaining in my videos. It’s not like I’m forcing the content, I’m having fun explaining to the audience. That’s a big difference from when I first started.
Tubefilter: So you feel like your content has gotten more true to who you are and what you want to do?
Chris Staples: Yes.
Tubefilter: Do you have any cool projects you’re working on? Anything you would want readers to know?
Chris Staples: Any cool projects? Not necessarily any cool projects, obviously just continuing to up the content. I watch a lot of MrBeast videos and I want to put more of that quality into the content, so that’s why the long-form videos are not going to be posted as much because I’m spending more time on them. I believe having quality content is much more than just putting out whatever.
Tubefilter: Agreed. Okay, last question. What would be your top piece of advice for somebody who’s just starting out making content?
Chris Staples: My number one advice woul be not to get discouraged by the likes and views at the beginning. It’s all a process you have to start, so you have to train your audience what you’re doing, and then those people will start to invest right along with you.