Matteo “OttyTeo” Ottella – Just Getting Started . . .

Matteo “OttyTeo” Ottella – Just Getting Started . . .

OttyTeo is the youngest freestyler yet to win the Snake Freestyle Basketball Contest.  He beat out some incredible competitors with his creative yet versatile style that’s nothing short of impressive.  What’s scary is that at his young age he’s just getting started . . .

Here’s some more about the amazing young freestyler, in his own words:

Before we get into questions about you, tell us your thoughts on Italians winning the Snake Freestyle Basketball Contest the first 3, and only 3 years of the contest.

“Well, I think Italians work harder. When they have a goal to reach, they give their best to make it happen. Creativity is their strenght. We are all proud to have won this contest where Italy has led the world scene for 3 years in a row.”

Tell everyone a little about yourself. Where are you from? How did you get your nickname?

“I come from a little town close to Biella, Sandigliano (1 hour far from Turin). When I began freestyling I needed a valid nickname on YouTube. My friends call me Otty but that nickname wasn’t available so I just added a part of my name (Matteo) and that composed ‘OttyTeo’, then every freestylers started calling me Ottyteo so I kept it.”

How long have you been freestyling?

“I started freestyling around 5 years ago in 2008.”

How did you first discover freestyling? Why did you decide to start freestyling?

“In 2008 I watched a lot of AND1 videos and I liked them, so I decided to make a ‘streetballin’ video. A few months later my friend LoryStyle (football freestyler who lives 5 minutes far from me) asked me if we could make a video together but it was cold and it was something like 7 pm and I couldn’t go to the court so I went to my garage and I filmed my first tricks without a basket. After that we watched Da Move’s videos and I took a lot of inspiration from them so we decided to contact Aigscream to meet with them. I continued to make videos to be known by other freestylers until I joined Da Move Crew.”

How much do you practice?

“When I began I used to practice 3 hours per day, everyday. I don’t really have time in this period because of the school so I train around 8 hours per week.”

Who have been your biggest influences as a freestyler?

“I think Badda is one who influenced me the most, as I watched all of his videos a few years ago and I liked them a lot, as I could see a complete kind of freestyle: 1, 2, 3 balls, spin, juggling, flow so I tried to do the same. In fact you can notice that our style and our tricks are similar which allows us to create duos quickly than other couple of freestylers who don’t have the same style as the other like us.”

How do you come up with moves and ideas for freestyle?

“Most of the times new ideas come from the mistakes; for example if you are trying to make a trick, and you accidentally do an other trick, then you have just created a new trick, or you have a new idea for another one. Other ideas come from jugglers such as Enrico Rastelli, and others from sports like calisthenics.”

Tell us a little bit about your freestyle videos that you made for this contest. What all went into making them? How did you come up with the moves?

“This contest was so important for me because it would have let me be known by every freestyler in the world in fact when I hadn’t pass Esav’s round I tried with the Snake’s one. Fortunately I passed to the final and I think my variety of 1, 2, 3 balls led me to victory.”

I know you perform with Da Move. Can you tell us a little bit about the crew and what it’s like performing with them?

“As I told you before I met them 4 years ago and since 2009 I have been monitored. They let me perform in their show twice before I joined them. They wanted to know if I was good to face the crowd. There are few point that makes a freestyler a show man such as smiling, look at them during the run etc. Last year they proposed me to train with them and the idea of travelling, meeting people and earn something was so exciting so I accepted. It changed my life immediately: I travelled a lot, I had more responsabilies, I had a lot of shoes and clothes, I was autonomous! Nowadays it seems my second family because sometimes we perform so much that I spend more time with them than with my family. I really have to thank them because my personality grew up faster than other peers. In 1 years I performed more that 50 times with them and our project now is going to grow up a lot!”

Tell us a little bit about the whole Jamball experience from last year.

“JamBall was the biggest freestyle event I have ever seen! I could meet guys that before I only saw behind the screen! It’s an opportunity for everyone to know and to be known by the scene. About the organisation I could see it behind the scenes. There was so much hard work that nobody can imagine. Lorenzo (Aigscream) and Fabrizio (SmallOne) spent so many nights awake to make it happen!! About the competition, I couldn’t even image to reach one of the first four places. Every contestant gave his best after a lot of hard work. I do hope next year will be bigger than it was.”

Why do you continue to freestyle? What do you feel you get out of it?

“In this years my passion for it grew up so I like so much when the crowd is clapping the hand or when people enjoy the show, hearing the crowd clapping makes me happy! One day I wish to earn enough money to do it for a living, I know that it isn’t so easy to realize so I keep studying and go to university to have another job.”

Do you have any major goals in freestyling?

“I think my best freestyle goal in my life was JamBall, when I reached the 4-3 place. Of course I’m still training a lot for the next competitions. There isn’t a final goal, every goal is just the beginning of the next one!”

What’s your favorite freestyle moment so far?

“In 15′ that i thought my favourite freestyle moment so far I still hadn’t decide because I have so many beautiful moments that it’s so difficult to choose!! I would say the 1st time I went to Bucharest to perform with the Da Move crew. It was my first long travel with them and the atmosphere was so great. I can’t explain why but I feel ot was my best freestyle moment.”

Who are some of your favorite freestylers right now? All time?

“Actually my favourite freestylers are Badda, Bavo and Marek Born. I think Enrico Rastelli is the best freestyler ever, as he invented some moves 100 years ago, that are still amazing nowadays!”

Do you have any favorite freestyle videos?

“Yes I do! ‘MB home alone’ is one of the videos i’ve watched more than 10 times! “

Do you have any advice for other freestylers?

“If you want to overcome anybody, you need to overcome yourself first. This is the only way how you can improve! For the guys who have just began I suggest them not to worry if it’s hard at the beginning, as someone said, ‘Training is the key’.

Anything else you’d like to say?

“I would like to thank Snake again, for he is giving us the chance to compete with each other every year. I also want to thank Da Move crew for everything it gave me during the last year. I wanted to thank Da Move crew for everything it gives me all year long.”

I personally can’t wait to see what else OttyTeo brings to the table in the coming years.  With his wide range of skills, showmanship and creativity he’s going to be more than fun to watch for years to come. 

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