The Morning GIF: Skyball

Up in the air with Iya Traore.

Mar 2, 2020, 8:59 pm*

Internet Culture

Lorraine Murphy 

Lorraine Murphy

Here at the Daily Dot, we swap GIF images with each other every morning. Now we’re looping you in. In the Morning GIF, we feature a popular—or just plain cool—GIF we found on Reddit, Canvas, or elsewhere on the Internet.

Iya Traore is the greatest soccer player of whom you have never heard. Let’s see pretty doy Beckham try these moves: Freestyle football as Traore performs it is a cross between parkour and juggling with your feet, and has to be at least twice as difficult as even that sounds. Think of it as what the Harlem Globetrotters do, only there’s only one of them, he’s gorgeous and half-naked, and he’s doing it on top of a rococo streetlamp overlooking a cliff in Paris.

A 26-year old from the streets of Guinea, Traore bootstrapped his way to playing for several teams both there and in France, where his father lives, but eventually juggling school, work helping his art merchant father, and playing on a team got to be too much even for this nimble lad and he was — ahem — de-scouted. Without a professional outlet for his skills, but with an entrepreneurial and entertainer’s nature, he took to the streets, the flagpoles, and the lamp posts of Paris’ Montmartre district to earn a living as a street performer.

When this 2010 video of him hit 2 million views on YouTube, he knew he’d made the right choice. He was subsequently asked to appear on the French equivalent of American Idol, and has been featured on television several times since. Now that he’s a star, he’s got a Facebook page with 8,863 fans. There are several YouTubes, but our GIF today was taken from the very first one, from 2010.

It’s a lovely snapshot of an absurd, terribly dangerous, and yet completely nonchalant moment. It’s the kind of thing that makes you feel sure it’s special effects, and then, when you learn it’s not, makes you feel the world is a better place than you thought it was.

On the Its Kupo Tumblr, it’s scored an impressive 10,662 notes in 10 months. Its caption reads, “this is pretty dooopeee,” and we cannot help but agree.

GIF via Its Kupo/Tumblr

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*First Published: Mar 12, 2013, 8:34 am