Thursday, March 02, 2006

Jason McElwain, the autistic basketball star.

Alone in the gym after practice, Jason McElwain went through his elaborate pregame ritual.

The 17-year-old senior, manager of the Greece Athena High School basketball team, drained a 3-pointer, a double-pump layup and a free throw, kissed the back of his ring finger at center court and sped off to the dressing room to exhort and amuse his teammates.

"You've gotta give it everything you got!" McElwain sang in rap verse. "The winner goes home all happy/The loser goes home and says/'Mommy we lost the game, wah wah wah!"'

McElwain, who is autistic, was back in his role as an all-around motivator on the eve of a sectional semifinal game Tuesday night -- handing out water bottles, dispensing tips, helping run drills. Two weeks earlier, he suited up for a game and delivered a jaw-dropping performance.

His play drew national attention, and a flood of calls from Hollywood. His parents have received inquiries from about 25 production companies ranging from The Walt Disney Co., parent of ESPN, and Warner Bros. to independent documentary filmmakers.

"I don't know what I'm walking into," McElwain said.

In his team's final home game of the season, McElwain entered with four minutes to go. It was his first and only appearance for the Athena varsity team in this Rochester suburb. The 5-foot-6 manager hit six 3-point shots and a 2-pointer and was carried off the court on his teammates' shoulders.

When the autistic team manager of a high school basketball team got his chance in the spotlight, he shattered everyone's expectations by scoring 20 points in four minutes. Very exciting watching videos of those finally given their chance to shine.

As always, you can view the video here at Google Videos or visit the actual page by clicking on the image to the left.


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