LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. >> One night, Devin Dismang checks an online folder to see hours of footage he’s going to have to comb through – sent by JaVale McGee.
This is inevitably a grind. Over the next few hours, he’ll be looking at a lot of resources: JaVale waking up, JaVale eating, JaVale getting time at the training table, JaVale training, JaVale wandering through the Coronado Springs Resort. But there are even moments that interrupt the tedious process.
McGee sent him a lunch clip a week and a half ago and filmed himself: “Sometimes it’s all that makes a turd, but today, the mac and cheese hittin ‘- I’m not going to lie to you.”
As he does when he comes across these JaVale isms, Dismang took a short break to cry with laughter at his computer.
“Even when he’s free, he’s on,” Dismang said in a recent interview. “His logic, the way he speaks, the way he wears himself – it’s really funny and a lot of people don’t see that.”
So far, that is: McGee is one of the players gaining social media traction at the reboot of the NBA on the Disney Campus, thanks to his videologs (“vlogs”) that try to capture the craziness of life in the bubble. The past two weeks of videos have averaged about 1.5 million views, sparking an interest in cults for understanding one of the league’s most unusual characters.
Each episode on YouTube takes about 15 minutes, which is set up in a daily life. Segments include scrimmages, interview bombs, reviews of the much talked about bubble dining (McGee is vegan), and some JaVale isms. It also features cameos from teammates LeBron James and Anthony Davis, with more on-camera features from teammates like Danny Green, Quinn Cook and Jared Dudley – all of whom participated well in the project.
Frank Vogel joked at a recent press conference that he wouldn’t want the camera pointed at him – but even he willingly appeared on the vlog for a scrimmage, joking that he would exchange players between teams to increase the odds.
“Everyone has shown a lot of love,” said McGee. “However, I feel like I’m a respectful shooter. I can see the atmosphere of people when they are in the mood to be videotaped.”
It’s a passion project from McGee and Dismang, who met when both worked for the Golden State Warriors. After Dismang left the team last year, he and McGee reconnected. Dismang made some short social media edits to McGee’s before the break, with splices influenced by video games and movies – a tone that certainly matches McGee, an avid gamer.
A part-time music producer Under the name “Pierre” McGee had somehow wanted to dive into the movie for a long time. Dismang has helped him achieve some of these goals. McGee tore up Orlando with a Sony camera on his hip. Dismang has spent the hours of his Chicago home trying to turn these messages into digestible stories. One part doesn’t work without the other, McGee said.
“I feel we both have the same creative mindset,” he said. “Devin has the mentality of an editor and filmmaker. And I have the mentality to only get the content. So I feel like our brains really make a good tandem together. ”
It almost never happened. McGee said he packs the electronics he uses for his game streams on Twitch when he asked Dismang if he should bring cameras that usually had been on the shelf. Dismang persuaded him to give it a shot.
So one of the reported “10 bags” McGee had brought had cameras inside. He started recording everything and he really hasn’t stopped. After a recent practice, McGee held a press conference on Zoom with a camera in his lap, trying to give his first-person perspective of the experience.
“It was great because I’ve been saying to JaVale for years, this is what you should do,” said Dismang. “You are a funny boy. People respect you for your career. Especially now that you’re in the bubble, I can’t safely tell an athlete’s story. So it’s the next logical step to make athletes their own content creators. ”
Each edit is given a final hallmark by McGee. He takes notes with Dismang (who recently added Quinn Cook and Troy Daniels as clients) for adding images or switching elements. McGee said that much of the film in the final product is events he may have forgotten because he films so many parts in the beginning.
The duo is also cautious about potentially sensitive images for other players on the team – for example, if someone is caught using a product that competes with their paying sponsor; or as McGee puts it, “they chased me, like,” Yo, make sure you don’t show me chicken in that video because I’m a vegan type of stuff. “
A story about video in the bubble is incomplete without acknowledging Philadelphia rookie Matisse Thybulle, whose slick edits and dry sense of humor have made him a social media darling. McGee’s views are higher, but he insists there is no rivalry – he’s as interested in following as anyone else. Dismang called Thybulle’s feed “fascinating.”
But only McGee’s offers intimate moments in a team with James and Davis in the league’s biggest market. A recent video contains a film by a half-court shooting match that McGee filmed on a GoPro. In the already exclusive world of the Lakers, being embedded in the bubble feels like something even less accessible – unless you watch.
“There are just a lot of things we do that are normal to us that other people think are the most amazing thing in the world, and I am beginning to realize things like that,” said McGee. “I’m just trying to get everything that’s going on in the bubble.”