Thanks to the Naples Daily News -
FORT MYERS — Ever since he could touch the rim as a teenager, Charles Millan has always had what he calls a weird fixation with dunking.
Millan, though, never dreamed that a hobby that started on the basketball courts at Estero High School — dunking — would turn into a full-time profession.
Yet there he was Friday at the State Farms City of Palms Classic, leading Team Flight Brothers in a crowd-pleasing exhibition of high-flying throwdowns at Bishop Verot High School. In five years since Millan created the group, Team Flight Brothers has taken off, and on the opening day of the City of Palms, the dunkers were among the biggest stars at the most prestigious high school basketball tournament in the country.
"I'm really lucky," the 26-year-old Millan said. "It's a dream-come-true kind of thing."
Team Flight Brothers features 12 athletes who call themselves "the world's greatest dunkers ... ever!" The group travels around the country year-round performing shows and playing charity basketball games. Team Flight Brothers have been featured in national basketball magazines Slam and Dime and have appeared on ESPN and MTV.
Millan, who doesn't dunk anymore, runs the group from his home in Naples, though he said he's on the road two to three weeks every month.
The success of Team Flight Brothers has come largely thanks to two guys who call themselves T-Dub and Werm. Terry Cournoyea and Brandon Lacue, as they're known on their birth certificates, showed Friday why the team has been viewed more than 12 million times on YouTube.
Cournoyea (T-Dub) and Lacue (Werm) took turns amazing the crowd at Bishop Verot with seemingly impossible athletic feats. At one point, Lacue, a Fort Lauderdale native, jumped over seven kids he pulled from the crowd and dunked one handed. Cournoyea, standing just 5-foot-9, jumped over 6-10 former Estero basketball coach Terrance Thomas before a windmill slam.
Millan said Cournoyea and Lacue are his best dunkers, and that's why he brought them to Bishop Verot. Though the City of Palms is a smaller crowd than the ones Team Flight Brothers performs for at NBA halftime shows, Millan said he wanted to bring his best performers to Fort Myers.
"This one has a sentimental value to it," Millan said. "It's a hometown thing. Also in the last month we lost one of our guys (DeMon Cournoyea) who was a family member. He was with us the first time we were here, so we wanted to have the original cast."
Lacue was one of the first people to team up with Millan. The duo got together nearly seven years ago and started experimenting with dunks. In 2005 they started filming their jam sessions and posting them online. About two or three years ago people really started noticing Team Flight Brothers, Millan said.
The team has plans to take its show worldwide. Millan has planned a seven-month European tour for next year in which Team Flight Brothers will perform in 36 countries.
"It's fun seeing the kids smile," Lacue said. "It's all in fun. We like to come out here, joke around and just show our talent."
Lacue and Cournoyea said they didn't know their exact vertical leaps. Cournoyea especially impressed the crowd Friday because of his small stature. Despite his lack of height, T-Dub had to adjust in mid-air on several dunks to avoid hitting his head on the rim.
Millan tells the story of when Team Flight Brothers did a halftime show at an Orlando Magic playoff game last year and Cournoyea drew the attention of another famous dunker. The Magic's Vince Carter took notice of T-Dub and pulled Dwight Howard from the locker room just to watch Cournoyea dunk.
Howard told Millan that Cournoyea jumped higher than anyone he had ever seen.
"We've been getting a lot more popular," said Cournoyea, who has been with Team Flight Brothers for four years. "In places all over the world we're getting a lot of recognition."
Though word is spreading about Team Flight Brothers, Millan would like to see the group get more recognition in Southwest Florida, an area dominated by football rather than basketball. What's more, the team founder would like to see dunking appreciated for the art he says it is.
"I'd like to see dunking at some point be considered an Olympic sport," Millan said. "I know that's not typical, but these guys put their bodies at risk. They are doing things with their bodies that people can't see is going on when they perform these dunks."
Multimedia journalist Nick Krueger contributed to this article. Connect with Adam Fisher at naplesnews.com/staff/adam_fisher