JUST DIFFERENT: Five-Star Guard Josh Christopher Is Riding His Own 🌊

Josh Christopher’s drip is different. It’s a Tuesday morning at Mayfair HS (CA) and the Lakewood native is participating in a team workout before he heads off to his first class of the day. The Monsoons’ official colors are blue and white, but when it comes to footwear, there are no color boundaries for Christopher’s kicks.

“I don’t think there’s anybody like me,” he says. “I’m just one of one.”

He’s rocking the eye-catching “Gym Red” Jordan XIIs as he goes through a series of skill work on the perimeter. Shortly after, he switches into a pair of “Lucky Charms” Kyrie 4s to go head-to-head with a teammate in a game of King of the Court. Aside from the variations of heat, one thing that’s evident is Christopher’s shorts game. The folding of the waistband is a common trend in grassroots basketball, but he also tucks in the bottom of his shorts, something he says he started doing ever since he dropped 43 points in a tournament with his shorts tucked in.

Back on the hardwood, Christopher wins a couple games and changes into the cream-colored Don C Air Jordan IIs for his first-ever SLAM photo shoot. His affinity for the bright lights and cameras is evident—he very clearly enjoys being the center of attention. 

“He’s definitely very charismatic, and as a basketball player he’s always had a level of confidence that is rare,” says Mayfair head coach Tony Davis, who’s known Christopher since he was eight years old. “I think that’s one thing that helps separate him—he has an undying belief of his abilities and you don’t see that in teenagers.”

As he wraps up his media obligations, Christopher switches into an off-court pair—Balenciaga Triple S sneakers—as he grabs his Gucci backpack and is off to be a student for a couple hours before he’s back in the gym for afternoon practice. 

Ask Christopher, a top-10 player in the Class of 2020, what he’s looking to accomplish this season and he mentions one goal. 

“Just to lead my team [to a championship],” he says. “Being the guy on the team everybody kind of looks at just to put my teammates in the spotlight for them to do well.” 

This past summer was an eventful one for Christopher. He spent the course of three months playing with California Supreme in the EYBL, Nick Young’s MHP team in the Drew League, the inaugural SLAM Summer Classic and was selected to participate in the Nike Skills Academy. But his most memorable moment of the summer may have been actress Tracee Ellis Ross posting a photo of them together wearing the same Supreme t-shirt at a Migos concert.  

Christopher comes from a lineage of hoopers, too. His sister Paris played at Mayfair and St. Mary’s; his brother Patrick, who also starred at Mayfair, was an All-Pac-12 guard at Cal and had a short stint in the NBA along with some time spent in the D-League and overseas; and his older brother Caleb shared the backcourt with Josh last season and is now playing a post-grad year at Hillcrest Prep in Phoenix.

“Being the youngest kind of shaped me more than anything else,” he says. “Just being able to see my siblings’ success, I was able to learn from it.”

The youngest brother in the Christopher family is making his own lane and riding his own wave. And as one of high school’s most elite scorers on the West Coast, he wants y’all to know something. 

“I’m the best player in California,” he says. “I think I’ve proved that regardless of what anyone says.”

Drew Ruiz is an Associate Editor for SLAM. Follow him on Twitter at @DrewRuiz90

Portraits by Ryan Young.