Me vs. DJ Ferguson (Pro Basketball Player) [Video]

by Kenny Eller on April 12, 2012

DJ Ferguson and Me

It’s hard to believe that it’s already been 10 months since my last 1-on-1 match-up.  If you’ve been following this journey of mine to play Michael Jordan since the beginning, you know that the lack of 1-on-1 games isn’t due to a deficiency in effort on my part.

I’ll play anyone, anywhere.

I’ve had games that were going to happen, fall through and either been told no or brushed aside by more than 10 current NBA players.  It’s been extremely tough to get guys to commit to hoop, to say the least.

Maybe I just look like I’m a baller!?

Baller jokes aside, when I got the call from my friend Sean saying that he had someone that would play me, I was more than excited to get out there and do my best.

DJ Ferguson – My Opponent

This past Tuesday, I made my way over to the RDV Sportsplex in Orlando to play DJ Ferguson, the starting point guard of the IBL’s Orlando Venom.

During his junior season at Flagler college he averaged 11 points and led the entire nation in assists at over 9 per game.  He came back in 2010-2011, his senior year, and once again led the country in assists with over 9 dimes a game while averaging just over 10 points.

Before I get into my takeaways from the games, check out the video of our match-up below.

Me vs. DJ Ferguson (Video): 

[Video Link]

Playing Pros (The Recap) 

The short of it, DJ Ferguson is just better than me at the game of hoops.

He’s quicker, stronger, younger (22), and most importantly farrrrrr more skilled.  As I’ve said in the past, there is a reason people get scholarships to play basketball and an even greater reason they get paid to play.

Overall, I was happy with my performance in Game 1.  From the opening play, DJ took me out of my comfort zone, which is shooting threes and forced me to create off the dribble.

In Game 2, we both started out shooting the ball poorly and before I could ever get out of my slump, DJ caught fire and beat me soundly.  Definitely one of my worst shooting performances in recent memory, but that was due mostly to his defense.

 Before I Win, I Must Lose and Through Each Loss, I Truly Win

So another three losses dealt to me by a pro (played a third game, not on video and lost that 15-4 too).

Doubters and haters may wonder, why would you want to posts videos of you losing all these games??

It’s simple.  Before I win, I must lose and through each loss, I truly win.

Being pushed excites me.

It makes me better.

In the past two weeks, I’ve beaten other players on my “regular guy” scale 15-3 and 15-0.  The first, a junior in high school and a current “player to watch” in the area according the local papers.  The second, a 26 yr old hooper with plenty of game, who has been trading games back and forth with me since that shutout loss.

Truth – Most recreational players aren’t conditioned or skilled enough to force me out of my comfort zone.  I do what I do, win or lose.  If my shot is falling and more times than not it is, I do favorably well.

Professional players figure out in 3 seconds what I want to do and then do their best to take it away.  Since we’re all friends here, I prefer to create space to get my three point shot off.  I honestly don’t feel many people can make shots like me.  Others have called the three pointer, my lay-up.

A pro, like DJ Ferguson, within a few plays knows where I like to bring the ball up during my shot, what I want to do and then forces me to do something else.  Basically, pros say, ok go ahead and try to take me to the basket 15 times…I’m not letting you shoot.


Success: The Grown Up Version of Struggle

Success is measured many different ways, but one constant is that success is truly the grown up version of struggle.

DJ may have won based upon the score of the games, but I too felt like a winner because he gave me the opportunity to compete against him and get better.  For that I am extremely thankful.  I picked up some pointers, watched how he created space with his dribble and ball fakes and all of that will make me more prepared against the next person I face.

In life, if you’re afraid to fail, you’re never going to win.

I’ll leave you with how I explained it to a friend of mine when he asked how the games went:

I said, “He took it to me.  At the end of the day he’s just the better player.  But on a Tuesday, at nearly 35 years old, I got to lace up my Jordans and give my all against someone who gets paid to play ball.  I had a blast!  Such a blessing!”

I encourage you all to take a step towards your dreams.  I think you will find that even in the losses, you will feel like a champion!

me vs. MJ…the journey continues!

Thank You DJ Ferguson

Mad shout out to DJ for taking time out of his training schedule to play me.  If I could bro, I’d still be on that court trying to get a win, haha!

All the best this upcoming season with the Venom!  I look forward to coming out and showing some support!

**Also want to give a special thanks to Sean LeBlanc for setting up the game for me with DJ and Ryan Boodram for shooting the video.  Appreciate you guys!


Connect:  Twitter (@KennyEller) and Facebook Fan Page.


If you’re new to the site, I set out in August 2010 to get a game of 1-on-1 vs. my childhood hero Michael Jordan.  This site is about that journey…through every valley, to every mountain top of triumph!

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Jerome April 12, 2012 at 8:49 am

Love it!! Great to see you in action again!! Your shot was really on in the first game… hard work paying off. Obviously, DJ has serious game, great conditioning and defender control with his handles.

I know it’s MUUCH easier said than done but get a hand in his face to disrupt his vision of the rim!! You did great at 3:50 and then let him have an open shot right after :P.
Maybe it’s time you go to train with Hakeem Olajuwon to pick up some post moves too … add in a dream shake and little baby hook here and there to mix it up!


Kenny Eller Kenny Eller April 12, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Thanks Jerome! Appreciate it bro!

Yeah, it is muuch easier watching than playing. 😀 Even I watch and say I should do that or do this. Truthfully he’s very quick, he’s not going to turn the ball over, and he can make shots. That combo makes it really difficult, unless you are equally skilled/athletic/etc.

Haha, that would be awesome to work with Hakeem! – I actually do have a couple of post moves, I just haven’t played anyone that is weaker than me yet, haha! These guys push me off the spot. Gotta add some weight!

Hope to announce another game soon! Stay tuned!


Karol Gajda April 13, 2012 at 1:16 am

Your shot is so money. Awesome that you got to showcase it against DJ, even if he did beat you.


Kenny Eller Kenny Eller April 13, 2012 at 8:57 am

Thanks man! Yeah, for me there is nothing better than being pushed and seeing how I respond. All the reps paid off, at least in game 1 :-)

Now if I could just improve my D, haha!


Mark May 3, 2012 at 8:13 pm

You should put up a journey to play MJ at Houston All Star Weekend in 2013 at the All-Star Game for Charity or something I can push it on my website.


Kenny Eller Kenny Eller May 4, 2012 at 8:44 am

Sounds like a plan! I sent you an email. Thanks!


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