— B.A. (@BdotAdot5) November 2, 2015
To hear Brandon Armstrong tell it, he had no ambitions or expectations of internet fame upon beginning his meteoric career as the Basketball Impersonator.
“It’s crazy. It’s wild,” Armstrong says while walking through the tunnel of American Airlines Arena. “I never thought I would be in an NBA arena after I started doing these videos.”
It’s easy to believe him, too, until the basketball world’s favorite mimic meets Dwyane Wade and immediately pokes fun at the future Hall of Famer.
In this hilarious video courtesy of Vice Sports and Stance, Armstrong has a new venue and audience for his latest impersonation. If the heightened stakes from his driveway and friends to the Miami Heat’s home floor and a NBA icon is too much for him, though, the former D-Leaguer certainly doesn’t show it.
Not only does Armstrong perform his antics while Wade watches from a baseline seat, but he even receives a few pointers from the three-time champion, too. How does this act compare to the Basketball Impersonator’s many more? Frankly, other than the fadeaway jumper bit, Armstrong falls short of his exalted standard here. No matter, though; Wade seems amused nonetheless.
“He alright. He got a few of my moves,” the Heat legend says. “He’s okay. He got a little somethin’.”
Clearly. And that success, apparently, is even far more than a natural comedic and basketball talent like Armstrong ever saw coming. But he does tailer the performance a tad, knowing Wade is watching.
Unlike the way Armstrong pantomimed J.R. Smith and Carmelo Anthony, his Wade shtick was more jocular and less biting. J.R. Smith really does prefer to shoot a closely-contested jumpers, over wide-open looks. That’s why he embellishes that component in his parody.
And Carmelo Anthony really seems to jab step an inexorable number of times from the triple-threat position, so Brandon turns it a caricature in his Melo spoof.
It’s how closely the NBA Impersonator adheres to reality that can distinguish his parodies from light-hearted fun to biting commentary. Fortunately, Wade found the humor in most of Brandon’s performance, even if some of it might’ve struck a little too close to home. We’re not so sure ‘Melo and J.R. would have reacted the same to the NBA Impersonator’s earlier driveway performances.