The internet got hold of an impressive trick shot video, but many didn’t realize that the star of the clip was former WNBA player Chantel Tremitiere. The 50-year-old viral sensation has been gaining fans on tik tok with her relatable personality and impressive shots.
CBS Sports spoke with Tremitiere about the unexpected recognition and her plans for future trick shots.
Tremitiere said she always tries to create content unlike what’s already out there but never expected to get as much attention as it did.
“I’ve never seen anybody traveling in the store,” she said, citing her inspiration for the video.
Dick’s Sporting Goods, where she filmed the video, cover their rims with plastic, so she talked to the manager to ask if they would allow her to take a shot inside the store. “I didn’t tell him who I was … but he let me and was as surprised as everybody else.”
Tremitiere wants to make sure these are actually trick shots and not practice, so if she doesn’t make it within three tries she abandons the operation. This one she did on her third shot.
She puts a lot of thought into making the videos unique and full of personality. It’s not just the trick shots that get people’s attention, it’s the commentary and acts that go with it. “[The fans] seem to be to be accepting of it, and I love it,” she said.
With her new following, she has also gained a new nickname, “auntie,” and has even changed her username to match the persona.
Her latest following includes some major names, including former President Barack Obama.
“I will be calling President Obama out for challenge at some point … because he likes to talk trash. I think he’ll beat me in horse. I think Obama is a better shooter than I am. But Obama not gonna beat me from half-court.”
Despite her celebrity following and her past resume, she doesn’t have a blue checkmark on social media … yet. Tremitiere says she’s not going to post more videos until she sees a verification, and her fans are asking for that blue check too.
Over the past week, she has been getting recognized more often in many places, with people calling out “auntie!” to her in stores. She responds calling them niece or nephew and says she appreciates the love.
As the internet tends to go though not everyone is kind, but her “nieces and nephews” have her back. When people comment with hate on the video her fans will come back with, “Don’t come at auntie like that.”
Now retired, she said she might not be game ready, but she knows where her strong suits are.
“I’m not saying I’m gonna get out and play five-on-five on anybody. You know, I know my ministry and that’s not it right now,” she said, then teasing her next videos. “These are fun and we got some we got some good ones coming, we got some really good ones coming.”
“You know, I’ve never even wanted to embrace my age until this right here,” she said, and it’s clear that she balls better than most 50-year-olds out there.
The retired WNBA player is as impressive off the court as she is on it. She went back to Auburn to get her MBA and completed the degree while also battling thyroid cancer and went on to get her PhD.
“I tell the commenters like you can call me anything you want. You can say ‘Oh, you could sound like a boy’. Whatever. As long as you put doctor in front of it.”
Tremitiere realizes that fun videos like the ones she produces can be a short escape from reality for some people.
“I understand that this is bigger than me,” she said. “And if watching a 60-second video can put your mind away from being quarantined in your house or, or what’s going on with the injustice in the world, then I’m then I’m doing what I what I set out to do.”
When asked about the return of the WNBA and NBA, she said, “I think that players should have the right to say, I don’t want to risk my life for this and more importantly, that should be respected,” noting just how dangerous the coronavirus is.
She’s excited for the sport to resume, but says, “At the end of the day, understand that that life is bigger than basketball … You know, if they don’t want to play then they don’t have to and I don’t think they should be penalized.”