These guys may not have gotten drafted to the NBA, but they gave basketball everything they had solely for the love of the game. Here’s a dose of inspiration from average guys just like us—not some 6’7” behemoths or guys with million-dollar contracts—who conquered their limits on the court in spectacular fashion.
The kids who proved their racial stereotype wrong in 10,000 hours
The mentally-challenged high schooler who got a chance to play
Mitchell, an intellectually-challenged high schooler from El Paso, Texas, loved basketball so much that he became his team’s team manager—the closest he’d come to a berth on the bench. However, his coach told him to suit up for the last game of the year and surprised him with time on the court during the fourth quarter to give him a shot at scoring his first gameday point. Mitchell got off to a poor start with some stray shots, but an opponent turned the ball over to him in an act of camaraderie. That’s when the kid actually made a shot, and pandemonium broke out in the stadium. This clip shows the true meaning of sportsmanship.
The 5’5” player who did the impossible and taught himself to dunk
If you have ever looked at your body and thought you weren’t quite cut out for basketball, think again. Brandon Todd taught himself to dunk despite what may appear to be a physical handicap out on the court: he’s only 5’5”. His story is captured in a mini-documentary called FIVE/FIVE, which chronicles his perseverance. After researching ways to achieve the unattainable, Todd looked to Russian powerlifters for inspiration after seeing their enviable power in action. Borrowing powerlifting workouts from the Russkis, he changed his eating habits and threw himself into a running, jumping and weight lifting regimen that boosted his vert all the way to the whopping 48 inches it is today. Fittingly, he also offers a program to help wannabe jumpers.