Note: The following appears in the Florida State gameday football program.
Anthony Hamilton is an internet sensation. The junior high jumper for the Tiger track & field program is giving a literal meaning to the discipline which he competes in, as Hamilton’s athletic skill is plastered across social media.
He has earned his reputation around the world as one of the best and most captivating basketball dunkers. Simply scrolling through Hamilton’s Instagram page provides more than enough validation for the hype he receives.
During his senior year of high school, Hamilton began to harness the platforms of social media, now touting a following of over 45,000 people on Instagram. Hamilton travels the United States soaring above 10-foot basketball rims, showcasing his 58-inch vertical jump. Hamilton has been featured by media outlets such as Overtime, ESPN, Dunkademics and Ballislife.
Basketball is Hamilton’s first true love. The sport provided the Los Angeles, Calif. native a chance to prove himself amongst his peers at Leuzinger High School, the same school which produced eight-time NBA All-Star Russell Westbrook. As a lifelong competitor, basketball provided him the ability to express and challenge himself.
The sport became his primary focus during his freshman year in high school, with his first season as a varsity member coming during his sophomore campaign. But before he had the chance to compete on the varsity stage, Hamilton suffered a broken bone is in leg while attempting a dunk in a preseason practice.
Without any rehab, Hamilton was cleared by doctors to return to practice. In his first day back, he snapped apart the three screws holding his reconstructed knee together.
Hamilton was told he would have to medically retire after the second injury. But he disagreed and persevered, this time taking the appropriate road back to the hardwood.
As time passed, Hamilton fought to elevate his game, eventually becoming a starter by the end of his junior season. Off the court, Hamilton was traveling the country, helping give college tours to the youth in his home community and informing them that there was more outside the bright lights of Los Angeles.
As his high school career came to a close, Hamilton had earned only one offer from La Verne, a Division III school, to continue his basketball career at the next level.
After he earned little playing time during his freshman basketball season, the track coach at the school pleaded with the basketball staff for Hamilton to join his squad during the offseason. What began as an immediate decline from Hamilton slowly shifted to acceptance.
The day of his first practice at La Verne was the first time Hamilton ever stepped on a track.
After tying the school record in the high jump during his freshman season, he knew that he wanted to do more than settle for the status quo that he easily could have met at La Verne. Looking for better opportunities, he pursued a connection that he sparked on one of his college tours the year prior with Tiger Head Coach Mark Elliott. Hamilton was so hungry for success that he moved to Clemson before he was even accepted into the university.
More than a year removed from the relocation, Hamilton has had great success on the track. During his first season in Tigertown, he earned All-ACC honors at the outdoor championships and was an NCAA East Regional qualifier.
Off the track, he has taken on the role of a mentor to local youth, a level head to his teammates and a friendly face to all he meets.
When you look at all that Hamilton has accomplished and what remains on the horizon, it rings true that he is truly soaring through life.