This is Max Pearce; a hyper-athletic 21-year-old with a destiny to change lives.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 17, 2017
On the surface, Max may seem like a run-of-the-mill Instagram dunker, earning thousands of views for his showcase of extreme athleticism. But Max is much more than that.
His underdog story began at an all-boys Catholic school in New York – Iona Prep. Playing on the high school team, he was able to develop his skills behind leading players in his class such as Matt Ryan, who is currently playing at Vanderbilt University, and Ty Jerome, ranked 43 in the class playing at University of Virginia. Although he was a reliable player for Iona, his talents were overshadowed by the bigger names of Jerome and Ryan.
In his senior year, he transferred to the school in his home town; a small village in rural Tuckahoe, New York. With a total school population of under 300 students, Max was able to display his talents and draw exposure to himself and his small town of Tuckahoe. After one season at Tuckahoe leading his team to success, Max moved on to Fredonia State with a vision to play basketball at the next level.
Unfortunately for Max, he was met once again with very little public interest at Fredonia State and transferred to Purchase State after his freshman year of college. Once at Purchase, although the program being Division III, Max was finally getting the attention he deserved from recruiters and fans. He had earned a starting spot, proving himself as a highly capable sharpshooter and boasting electrifying athleticism. Then tragedy struck — Max lost his grandfather.
Expectedly, Max’s focus on basketball was sidelined and as a result, he was too. The following 2015-2016 season, having just lost his grandfather, Max played a supporting role off the bench for Purchase. Despite a decrease in playing time, Max was still able to help guide the team to the Division III semi-finals, where they lost in heartbreaking fashion to the eventual champions.
In 2016, Max recovered from the devastating loss and elevated his game, literally and metaphorically. One of his videos from Instagram went viral and earned over 25 million views across all platforms. Here is a clip from the video featured by Bleacher Report on Twitter.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 29, 2016
Bleacher Report weren’t the only major media company that noticed — Sports Illustrated, Worldstar Hip Hop, House of Highlights, Complex and many other leading outlets joined in sharing Max’s videos.
The online presence of Max Pearce has skyrocketed the past year, having grown from 1,200 followers on Instagram to now well over 25,000. While Instagram continues to be the main source of social media outreach, companies frequently post his material on every outlet available. Max pushes the limits of creativity every day and soon hopes to become the shortest person to dunk from the free throw line at 6’0”.
More impressive: Jam or Jelly?
— Whistle Sports (@WhistleSports) August 19, 2017
Even without a ball, he is able to impress…
(via IG: overtime) pic.twitter.com/Mjql14ohzo
— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) April 19, 2017
Max’s latest athletic venture is the NCAA State Farm Dunk Competition. Held in March every year, the contest features D1 athletes generally from big-market schools. Max has been selected to participate in the 2018 competition, being the only non-D1 contestant. In addition to the D3 handicap, Max will also be the shortest contestant at six-feet flat, but he more than makes up for it with an emphatic 48 inch vertical. If Max is able to win the contest, which he is more than capable of achieving, he will be the first ever non-D1 player to win, putting his small school of Purchase State on the radar for talent recruiters.
Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.
Max has been contacted by Nike with an opportunity to shoot a mini-movie promotion. While this is an incredible opportunity for him to promote his game, his brand and his reputation in a business-driven athletic world, he is confronted by the NCAA policy forbidding college athletes to receive payment for their skills.
According to NCAA Bylaw 12, article 12.1.2:
“Athletes are stripped of their amateur status and thus their right to participate within NCAA sporting events if they receive payment for their athletic skills.”
And NCAA Bylaw 12, article 126.96.36.199:
“A student-athlete will lose their ability to participate in NCAA sporting events if they are discovered to be receiving payment through commercial advertisement, promotion, or endorsement.”
Because of the regulations set by the NCAA, college athletes are hindered by their amateurism, defined as somebody who has not profited from his/her sport. In recent years, the controversy behind the NCAA forbidding players to profit from their talent has exploded — players have spoken out, top-ranked athletes have been exposed and opposition has grown immensely. With Max’s opportunities and exposure on social media, he has drawn attention from league management. If he makes a dime from an ad on videos, if he sells any copyrights, if he participates in the mini-movie with Nike, he will be expelled from the NCAA and will not be allowed to play basketball in college.
In light of all the attention these regulations have gathered, and the controversy behind it, Max is becoming a face for the fight against amateurism.
In an exclusive interview with Max, he made his opinions clear:
“I think the NCAA should strongly review their regulations on prohibiting their athletes from making money off of their talent for the sport that they love. If an athlete earns the opportunity to capitalize on their athletic abilities and make their family better off, then by all means they should be able to do so. Furthermore, that should not affect the status of their scholarship whatsoever. Both are earned by the athlete and should never be deprived on the sole basis of exercising their talent or ability!
My goal is to revoke the restrictions to the athletes that earn opportunities to collaborate with companies or earn compensation through their athletics. I am not asking for them to be paid by the schools, but if an outside organization is interested in collaborating with an athlete to build their brand, then that should be completely okay.”
In addition, Max is currently working on a professional statement speaking out against the NCAA restrictions. His article should be released soon and promoted on all his social media outlets.
Max has utilized his momentum to transcend basketball altogether. Flynance is Max’s company focused on merging the world of sports with the world of business. Fame and fortune can often clout the foresight of a professional athlete and it is absolutely crucial to have a venture outside and above your sport. A healthy body is temporary and athleticism fails with age. Max emphasizes the importance of education and professional understanding for athletes. Through community outreach, exposure on his videos and other forms of connecting to his audience, Max promotes Flynance as this fusion.
Here, Max is signing autographs for a line of young fans.
This life is truly a blessing pic.twitter.com/eFTo45np3o
— Max Pearce (@maxwellpearce) August 18, 2017
Watch for Max to continue to emerge as an elite basketball player with unique potential from beyond the arc and unmatched athleticism. His skills on the court will translate into his presence against the NCAA’s amateurism policies, fighting for rightful opportunities athletes have to benefit from their ability. All the while, his company Flynance will serve as a vital feature in this young man’s success – bringing athletics, education and business together.
Great things are coming for Max Pearce.