Ever since he received a skateboard as a gift from his cousin as a little kid, Theotis Beasley has had a way to stay busy. But over the course of the past 12 years, the Inglewood native has gone from the kid at the skate shop who asks too many questions to one of the top skateboarders in the world.
"I was just a little skate nerd growing up," Beasley says. "I used to always collect DVDs every time I'd go to a skate shop, and they were all I wanted to watch when I was young. Every time a new magazine would come out, I'd be in the skate shop getting it."
After growing up repeatedly watching videos of skateboarding heavyweights like Paul Rodriguez, Chris Cole and Eric Koston, Beasley got his first chance to shine on camera in 2005's Baker 3 video. From there, Beasley became a mainstay on the Baker Skateboards team while also picking up sponsorships from the biggest names in the sport, such as Nike SB and Mountain Dew.
Just as every kid in the skate park dreams of becoming sponsored, Beasley will never forget his early career. Aside from living out his dreams of skating in videos alongside his heroes, Beasley was ecstatic to get boxes upon boxes of free gear from his sponsors after growing up in a home where every penny mattered.
"When I got that first box, I was so hyped I took it out to the homies on the block," Beasley says. "I wasn't thinking about money back then, and I still don't as long as I can make a living. My mom used to stretch that dollar out every month, and I would just get what I could. Once I started getting the products coming in, I was getting so many boxes, my mom thought I was stealing it."
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Now 26 and entering his sixth year as a pro, Beasley's come a long way since that first Baker 3 segment. Since then, he's appeared in 16 more videos, for everyone from TransWorld to Shake Junt, and his unique and graceful street skating has made him a hit on YouTube and all over social media.
Rather than focusing on competitions — although he's participated in both the X Games and Dew Tour — Beasley is happy tweaking and perfecting his tricks everywhere from the skatepark in his Carson home's backyard to the farthest international reaches.
"I've been to Greece, China, Dubai, Paris, Barcelona, all over the world, on a $50 piece of wood," Beasley says. "Just seeing all the spots you can skate out there — you can skate on some perfect marble over there, whereas here we just have cement with cracks in it. When I went on my first trip out of the country, I almost didn't want to come home. But one thing I'm not a fan of is trying new food. The first time I went to China, people were eating squid and everything. I just ate fried rice, french fries and soda every meal."