In the entire history of Freestyle play, no one has been as mercurial as Donnie Lee Rhodes. When he showed up in Venice Beach on Christmas Day 1978 after hitch hiking across the country, his obsession with freestyle began. As legend has it, he would get together with his fellow jammers and play until the sun went down whereby they would all retire indoors. Except Donnie would keep playing deep into the night. He simply did not stop. As a result he soon became a complete virtuoso with the disc. By early 1980 he was very simply put, the greatest freestyler alive. No one could match him. During this rise to prominence his exploits became the stuff of legend. Even to this day, there is no one to compare to his genius.
Donnie was the most dominant player in the world during the height of his career from 1979 to 1983. His first victory was 1979 NAS Vancouver with Joey Hudoklin where a hint of great things was first revealed. Soon after, he had a streak of over 25 consecutive North American Series events where he finished no lower than second place. This was a stunning achievement given the talent of that time. He also had a winning record against every single player of that generation.
After soaking up the California freestyle scene in Venice during 1979 and winning the Rose Bowl with Joey Hudoklin and Jeff Felberbaum, he moved to New York City. Once there, he completely immersed himself in integrating formal dance training into his technique. The results were simply stunning, elevating him into hyper-elite levels of play. The first glimpse of this was winning the 1980 FPA World Co-op title with the Velasquez Brothers in Austin, TX. After winning his second Rose Bowl title in 1981, this time with Jeff Felberbaum and Allen Elliott, he did a tour of Sweden with Suzanne Strait. During that tour he met his future wife Camilla Nilsson, a formally trained Ice Skater. Donnie and Camilla soon did an extensive Demo tour of Europe. In 1982 Donny moved to Austin, TX where he teamed up with John Houck, Allen Elliott and the other ‘Austintacious’ Jammers to further develop his game. After another victory at the 1982 World FPA Co-op event, this time with Allen Elliott and Chris Ryan in Austin TX, Donnie decided to change gears. Camilla moved to Austin soon afterwards where she was swept up into the grand plans being laid out by Donnie. In 1983 Donnie shifted his focus away from competitions and began to do demos and shows full time with his wife Camilla. During the next decade they lived in both Las Vegas and Sweden playing full time under the name ‘Star Flyers’, exposing hundreds of thousands of people to Freestyle.
Donnie’s style is that of a natural clock player featuring incredible center control and flowing consecutivity. He also has a keen touch with counter spin. In short, he is capable of doing virtually any move and make it look easy. Two of those moves that he introduced to the game were the ‘Bad Attitude and Oliver Catches’. He was highly creative and able to invent elaborate moves and sequences far above what others were doing at the time. Donnie had the ability and acumen to craft his game into a completely inspired end result. He was stunning to watch, mesmerizing and fluid. In short, Donnie was simply magnificent.