A teenage basketball player stormed the social media scene with his precise ball-handling skills a few years back, but it’s his shot that’s grabbing attention now.
Noah “Baby Birdman” Cutler is a 14-year-old from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina that’s already earned respect from prominent NBA players, including Bay Area’s own Stephen Curry. His game has only improved since his 2016 visit to Oracle Arena, where he stared in a YouTube video that has over 26 million views, and now he’s making his mark as this week’s talent on That Kid’s Got Game.
Noah’s undersized. In fact, his early Instagram followers used to give him a hard time when he first stared posting clips of his game around 2013 – back when you were allowed just 15 seconds of video. They’d say he’s too small and that he wouldn’t make it, according to his father, Josh Cutler.
And then he went to a basketball camp hosted by his favorite player, Nate Robinson, who is listed at 5’ 9” (and even that might be generous by an inch or two). Robinson told Noah to not stress his height and to play with heart. And when he was visiting the Warriors, Curry reminded him that he too grew up small. Since then Noah has been attaching “#HeartOverHeight” to all his videos.
“He’s stuck with that message and it’s resonated with other smaller kids that follow him,” said Josh Cutler, speaking to young basketball players included in his son’s near 150,000 Instagram followers.
But as far as “Baby Birdman” goes, that nickname came from a different NBA player. One who is definitely opposite to Robinson on the height spectrum. When Noah first started playing he had a Mohawk haircut, just like former NBA center Chris “Birdman” Anderson. It didn’t take long for the nickname to take root.
The eighth grader who averages 22 points a game and close to eight assists first made headlines for imitating Curry's warmup routine. His impressive imitation got him featured in GQ magazine before the Warriors flew him out to show Steph his skills.
Through school and travel teams, Noah’s been coached by his father since he began playing around 8 years old. Shooting framework can be tough at a young age, Cutler said, so they focused on dribbling early. And about two years ago, with confident ball-handling abilities, they started working hard on developing his shot.
“It’s getting to the point now where he’s recognized more for shooting than ball-handling,” Cutler said, noting that Noah’s social media presence gets him recognized by players at tournaments he competes in, sometimes creating a “target on his back.”
“It adds a degree of difficulty, but he welcomes it,” Cutler said.
Right now Noah is in the gym shooting until he makes 300-500 baskets five times a week on top of the rest of his training. He’s described as an unselfish player who passes as well as he handles the ball.
“He loves to distribute the ball,” Cutler said of the point guard. “He’s a play-maker before anything else and likes to move things around.”
That Kid’s Got Game was created as a fun way to display kids with standout sports skills. If you have game, or you want know someone with game, we want to see it. Visit here for information on how to submit.