It was a homecoming on multiple levels for Ryan Carter AKA “Hezi God” when the BIG3 landed in Charlotte last month.
Before he became a viral basketball sensation Carter was a hometown hero who played basketball and football at Johnson C. Smith. He got the chance to perform for family and friends with the “BIG3” in the Spectrum Center.
“It was actually beyond my wildest dreams,” Carter told the Charlotte Post. “All the people I grew up with and played basketball with, a lot of people showed up for me. Being here for the BIG3 and everybody being able to see what I’ve been working on, you can see it on TV from afar, but to see it in person makes it different, like ‘dang, he made it from Charlotte.”
Carter was a standout in football and basketball at Charlotte’s Harding High School where he was an all-conference selection in both sports. From there he went on to JCSU, where he continued to play both sports. He would go on to be a part of two CIAA championship teams with the basketball program in 2008 and 2009, averaging between 1.5 and 2.9 points per game while playing for Stephen Joyner Sr. through 2010.
His career on the gridiron was actually more prolific than on the hardwood. He passed for 2,129 yards and 12 touchdowns in 10 games during the 2010 season.
Carter spent the next decade-plus pursing his hoop dreams, transforming himself into “Hezi God” thanks to his dribbling skills. He’s gone viral several times over the years and once even put up 103-points in an American Basketball Association game as he hit 26-3 pointers. He’s been playing on Ice Cube’s “BIG3” circuit since July and has put up some impressive performances. But it was a special treat for him to return to his hometown and do his thing in the arena he won CIAA championships in so long ago.
“I remember when people weren’t checking for me. To get that now, I appreciate it a little bit more than I guess your child prodigy that grows up and everyone knows them,” said Carter. “I’ve always been known throughout Charlotte as being a phenomenal athlete, but I guess for the world to recognize me as that, the least I can do is smile in a picture.”