Franklin Sessions’ talents extend far beyond the confines of a basketball court.
Googling the name Franklin Session returns a bevy of highlight packages from his numerous games playing in the Drew League, but when he’s not crossing up your favorite NBA player on the court, Session is spending hours, sometimes days, on his latest artwork.
He’s considered the best basketball player not in the NBA, and according to Damian Lillard the best player he’s matched up against that doesn’t play in the league. All of this is known 10 times over about Session, or ‘Nitty’ as he’s often referred to during his Drew League appearances.
However, taking a quick scroll though his Instagram page (@FrankNittyy) sandwiched between the many pictures of his sneaker game, family photos and basketball highlights you’ll find ultra-detailed drawings of The Joker, Mario, and Venom, all drawn by Session.
“I just started that a year ago, I’ve always been drawing but now I use markers that real artists use,” Session said. “I do it to pass time, and Call of Duty got boring at one point so I thought I’d pick up something else.”
Session only just started to put his artwork on social media, but he’s been drawing since the fifth grade. Someone who didn’t start playing basketball until he was in high school, Session always possessed a knack for creativity.
Courtesy of Franklin Session
He drew so much that his mother called into an infomercial to see how talented he actually was.
“It was one of those infomercials where they send you a book and you try to draw what it looks like in the book and it tells you how good you can be,” Session said. “But I was terrible back then so they were like ‘nah it’s not good.’”
Session was that kid in the back of the class filling notebooks with drawings, sometimes getting in trouble for it, but always paying attention. When he picked up basketball, drawing took a back seat, but after rediscovering it within the past year it’s like he never put the pen down.
It’s not that Session is just okay at it, he gets requests frequently from friends, followers on social media and has sold several of his pieces. Just like basketball, drawing is an escape for Session, and although there aren’t many similarities between the two there are aspects that carry over into both worlds.
“Focus and patience. Drawing and basketball frustrate the hell out of you when you get something wrong, but when you do it right that feeling of making everything come together at the end whether it’s the end of a picture or a championship, stuff like that they all have that in common,” Session said.
Session is all self-taught. He watches YouTube videos to get the shading down, but there aren’t step-by-steps to create a photo-realistic drawing of Spider-Man or Bruce Lee.
Courtesy of Franklin Session
If Session sees something he likes, he’ll try his hand in drawing it himself with his own twist on it. He’s not shy about his many failures trying to sketch something out, but his persistence and passion is engrained in everything Session does.
But if the passion isn’t there for Session, the results aren’t the same.
“I try not to take requests because if I don’t feel like drawing I’m not going to put my all into it,” Session said. “I don’t ever want to be that guy who doesn’t put his all into anything, so if I see something I like and the creative juices start to flow then I’m like ‘I can do this.’”
Before Session posted his artwork to Instagram it wasn’t something many people knew about him, but now that it’s out there everyone from current NBA players to just one of his 109K followers all think the same thing, “what can’t you do?”
While Session appreciates all the recognition and fame he’s received from his Drew League performances, which in part has gotten him the current opportunity he has playing in The Big 3, he wants to be recognized as more than just a basketball player.
“We’re a stereotype in itself, where I’m from I don’t want to be looked at as ‘this is what comes from over there,’” Session said. “I’m a multi-talented guy, you don’t know what comes from over there. Give somebody else a shot and maybe they’ll bring more to the world than I’m bringing. That’s how I look at it, I don’t want to be looked at as that guy who can only play basketball.”
Session has been going non-stop this summer on the court, from playing his first season in The Big 3 to reminding everyone in the Drew League that he’s still the king of the court with a cool 60-point performance.
His art has fallen to the wayside lately, but when the day comes for him to hang up his Nikes — which doesn’t look to be any time soon — he’s planning on committing even more time to drawing.
“I’ll definitely be one of those guys who just sits in the house and draws, but when I go back overseas or wherever I end up playing this year I’m going to draw,” Session said.