Ten years ago, a high school basketball manager with autism in Rochester, NY, became an instant celebrity when he scored 20 points in four magical minutes. Jason McElwain - a coach and marathon runner now - continues to push the boundaries of expectation. You know a moment is big when it spawns two books, a career on the motivational speaking tour and one transforming friendship.
It is the stuff of fantasy: an autistic schoolboy is sent onto the basketball court as a last gasp substitute, scores 20 points in four minutes and becomes a national hero. Jason has high-functioning autism - with a reasonable level of capability - but the handicap has not prevented him from becoming "manager" of Greece Athena High School's basketball team. Apart from a couple of minutes in a junior game two years ago, however, Jason's condition had limited his role to revving up the team before a game.
His first words were: "Wow, what do you need me for? McElwain - also known as J Mac - is best known for scoring 20 points in the last four minutes of the only basketball game of his high school career. It made national news and turned him into an instant celebrity.
The tale of Jason McElwain, or J-Mac, is a sports story that exploded from local legend to national news almost overnight. Autism never stopped J-Mac from pursuing his passion of playing basketball. After years of hard work, his tireless effort finally paid off when he was given the opportunity to check into the game. What happened next sent a gym full of ecstatic fans into absolute pandemonium.
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Jason McElwainnicknamed J-Mac born October 1,is an American high-functioning autistic amateur athletein both basketball and marathonand public speaker. McElwain came to fame on national news, inwhen he played during a high school basketball game, and scored twenty points. On February 15,he played in a basketball game against Spencerport High Schoolfor a division title.
That all changed last week for the team manager in the final home game of the season. The year-old senior, who is autistic and usually sits on the bench in a white shirt and black tie, put on a uniform and entered the game with his team way ahead. McElwain proceeded to hit six 3-point shots, finished with 20 points and was carried off the court on his teammates' shoulders.
A year to the day after he stunned everyone by coming off the bench to score 20 points in four minutes in a high-school basketball game, autistic teen-ager Jason McElwain says he hopes his story is still inspiring others to set goals and achieve their dreams. Jason, then 17, was thrust into the spotlight when Greece Athena High School basketball coach Jim Johnson decided to send him onto the floor for a little play in the team's final regular season game against Spencerport on Feb. Jason had never made the team but stayed on as team manager, and Coach Johnson thought a little playing time would be a fitting show of gratitude for his dedication.
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