How Tennessee basketball's Jonas Aidoo became TikTok famous: 'It … – Knoxville News Sentinel

Jonas Aidoo walked out of the kitchen in frustration. 
The Tennessee basketball forward smacked his head on a doorframe and crouched down in pain, holding his forehead before staggering back into the room.
“It was corny,” Aidoo said.
The 6-foot-11 Aidoo put on the performance in response to a TikTok prompt about a girl who wouldn’t date someone taller than 6-9. He posted the 10-second clip to TikTok in October 2019, launching him toward social media fame. He has more than 400,000 followers and 9 million likes on the video platform.
It began with a joke and a challenge among friends. 
Aidoo and Noah Wells, his high school teammate at Voyager Academy in Durham, North Carolina, wanted to see if they could attain TikTok celebrity status. The race was on and they started posting videos in late 2019. Aidoo won with a strategic plan.
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“It was obvious and easy,” Aidoo said. “No one else is really tall on TikTok. I just had to find something that is unique to me and what other people don’t really see. It was a no-brainer.”
Aidoo posted a few videos that didn’t gain much traction before his antics with the doorframe catapulted him to more than 230,000 views. His earlier content picked up with the attention, and he latched onto using his height to propel his page. He was especially active on TikTok during the COVID-19 pandemic and coinciding quarantine periods.
He has nine videos with more than 1 million views, eight of which involve his height.
“At first, it was like, ‘Wow, I really got that many views,’” Aidoo said.
Aidoo’s most-viewed video has 10.5 million views. He danced into the kitchen and raised the roof with each hand, touching the ceiling easily with his elbows still bent.
Aidoo doesn’t know how his Tennessee teammates found his TikTok, but they did. 
“People started finding out being like, ‘You popped up on my for you page,’ and they saw my account,” Aidoo said. “I didn’t really tell anybody. People just started figuring it out.”
They joke often about being on one with him and many have. Sophomore guard Jahmai Mashack makes consistent appearances, while Quentin Diboundje was featured in some clips before he transferred from Tennessee to East Carolina.
Aidoo said Mashack and senior forward Olivier Nkamhoua are usually the most eager to take part, and others have talked about it but have yet to take part. Aidoo’s typical approach is to see what is trending on the app before applying his own spin on it with his personality and jovial nature.
The sophomore isn’t shy about showing that around the court either. He was front and center on the Tennessee bench when the Vols won the Battle 4 Atlantis against Kansas on Nov. 24.
He danced around the court without any fear of a doorframe, his TikTok fame long secured.
“I don’t know how it happened,” Aidoo said. “It randomly happened.”
Mike Wilson covers University of Tennessee athletics. Email him at and follow him on Twitter @ByMikeWilson. If you enjoy Mike’s coverage, consider a digital subscription that will allow you access to all of it.


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