Skip to main content

Q&A With Rachel DeMita: Dunk League, NBA 2KTV Experience, Mount Rushmore Of Basketball

Rachel DeMita attends the FIBA World Cup Ceremony.

SHENZHEN, CHINA - MARCH 16: Rachel DeMita attends the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Draw Ceremony on March 16, 2019 in Shenzhen, China. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

Ever since her first show as the host of NBA 2KTV, Rachel DeMita has become a star in the media industry. Her next career move should have basketball fans awfully excited, as she's returning to her roots.

DeMita will host the third season of Dunk League, which premieres on Sept. 27 on Team Whistle's YouTube page and various social media platforms.

Dunk League is considered the "most unique dunk competition" in sports, as nine players from varying backgrounds will compete in a series of dunk challenges and competitions. Each episode will show the winning dunker claim a $5,000 prize, with the "Dunk Master" by the end of the season taking home a $50,000 grand prize.

DeMita will provide one-on-one interviews throughout the third season of the Dunk League, as well as updates on scoring and standings. She'll be joined by former NBA guard Nate Robinson, who'll be a celebrity judge this season.

We caught up with Rachel DeMita to discuss her work with Dunk League, what fans should expect from the third season and much more.

The Spun: You’ll be hosting this season of Dunk League. Can you tell me about your latest move?

Rachel DeMita: When they called me about Dunk League, I was already familiar with the series. It’s kind of funny because I feel like my career has come full circle. A lot of people don’t know that before I had a large following on social media, I was doing a lot of video content with dunkers. I actually met one of the dunkers, Jordan Kilganon, and when he first came to the United States, we met up and started creating some wild dunks. I’ve also played in a couple of celebrity games with JC [Jonathan Clark] and Jordan Southerland as well. So I was familiar with a good handful of the guys. I was really excited to join the project because I knew it could be really big. I feel like the third season is going to blow things out of the water.

Rachel Demita behind the scenes for the Dunk League.

The Spun: You’ve had a chance to see what the competitors in the Dunk League are capable of doing, and for those who don’t know, these competitors are probably more creative dunkers than those in the NBA. Can you tell us what we should expect from Season 3?

RD: I think that’s what some people don’t realize. I, personally, believe if you put any of the dunkers we have in the Dunk League in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest, I believe they would come out on top. They dedicate so much of their lives to this - it’s their sole focus. People should expect to be shocked because as much as I’ve worked with them, every single dunker has pulled out something new and something that no one thought they could do. There are some really new, innovative and exciting dunks that you’ll see this season.

The Spun: Nate Robinson is going to be a celebrity judge. What’s it like having him on for this season?

RD: It was awesome having Nate on as well. I’ve worked with Nate in the past, and I think he has one of the best personalities when it comes to former NBA players who have joined the entertainment space. I think the coolest part was getting to witness Nate mentor the dunkers and give them advice. He overcame so much in his career, so seeing him mentor the younger guys was really cool. Plus, he just brings so much energy to the project.

The Spun: I want to ask you about your time as a host for NBA 2K. When you accepted that position at that time, did you have any idea it would really jumpstart your career the way it did?

RD: No [laughs]. I don’t know if I ever could’ve expected it becoming what it was. With NBA 2KTV, I think the coolest part was that I was the first person they hired for that show. I really got to create that show from scratch, and you don’t really get that type of opportunity very often. Not only was I the host, I got to write my own scripts, produce segments and book guests. When we first started, there was myself and three people on the production team. When we went live for the first episode, we were just so excited and so proud of all the work that went into it. Obviously, I’m forever grateful for all the opportunities that show has given me along the way.

The Spun: What was the hardest aspect of adjusting to that newfound fame?

RD: I still sometimes can’t wrap my head around the amount of followers I have. When I think about the number, like millions of followers, that’s crazy. I still don’t think I’ve come to terms with that. All it has really done is - I know I’m a perfectionist and I know there are a lot of people who will look at what I do - make me put an emphasis on not just throwing up whatever picture or video or project I want on my social media platforms. I’m also relatively shy, so when people recognize me in public it’s still awkward to me. I’m so appreciative of it, though. I’m just confused that people actually know who I am. Other than that, I know I’m a good person and I have a good heart.

The Spun: Who’s on your Mount Rushmore for basketball?

RD: I’ll take Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, Kobe Bryant - wait, can I have a fifth?

The Spun: We’ll allow it [laughs].

RD: OK, great. So I’ll go Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal and Candace Parker. How about that?

The Spun: I’m sure people will point out the LeBron omission, but that’s a fair list.

RD: I’m just going with the veterans, and Candace Parker is someone who I looked up to as a kid. Actually, I wanted to go to the University of Tennessee to play basketball because of her - I ended up going to Old Dominion. One of the most surreal moments for me was her guarding me in the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game in New Orleans. That was just crazy to me, and the fact that we’re actually friends now and have done work together is a dream come true.

The Spun: Candace Parker was recently named one of the cover athletes for NBA 2K22. Were you happy about that?

RD: Definitely. I mean, Candace is a legend. She was great in college, great in the WNBA and absolutely kills it on TV. She has a great personality and one of the highest basketball IQs - I’d take her over a lot of NBA players. Over the past three to five years, there’s been a movement in women’s basketball. It’s awesome to see some of these women get the recognition they deserve.

The Spun: Will we see you at another Celebrity All-Star Game?

RD: That’s a tough question. So the L.A. All-Star Celebrity Game, not to toot my own horn, I thought I played a really great game. I was the leading scorer on my team, it was in Los Angeles, it was just a really great weekend. I initially walked off that court saying I retired from Celebrity All-Star games, but maybe if a good city presents itself and there’s good momentum about it, maybe I’ll put on the kicks again.

The Spun: Would you like to see a member of the Dunk League compete in the NBA’s Slam Dunk Contest?

RD: Oh, I think it absolutely needs to happen. Maybe from Dunk League and from the rest of the world getting to see the talent they have, I’m hoping it’ll open more opportunities for these athletes. Even if it’s not the Slam Dunk Contest itself, maybe there’s a prelude to it where they’re included on All-Star weekend. I think they deserve the recognition and it’s been a long time coming.

DeMita certainly sounds confident about the current talent the Dunk League has, and rightfully so.

The third season of Dunk League features Jordan Kilganon, Jonathan Clark, Isaiah Rivera, Jordan Southerland, Connor Barth, Tyler Currie, Dan Gross, CJ Champion and Anthony Hamilton.