GRAND LEDGE, Mich. (AP) — Two Michigan high school basketball teams set rivalry aside during their last regular season game so a student team manager with cerebral palsy could fulfill his dream of playing after spending two seasons on the sidelines.
Grand Ledge coach Scott Lewis challenged his players to get ahead of Holt on Friday so Grand Ledge senior Michael Bryant could comfortably have the chance to play, The Lansing State Journal reported.
Everyone in the gym, even the rival team, cheered as Bryant landed two 3-pointers late in the game, Lewis said.
“It was amazing, man. It was the whole community, rather it be Holt, rather it be Grand Ledge — everyone in the gym was cheering for the kid,” he said. “It was a really cool moment.”
Bryant was diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a child. The disease can affect body movement and coordination by causing abnormal reflexes, floppy or rigid limbs and involuntary movements.
“I dreamed about going on the court and shooting 3-pointers,” Michael Bryant said.
Lewis said Holt coach Darren Zwick encouraged his players to give Bryant the chance to shoot, and that “it’s hard for us to be rivals with Holt after that.”
Bryant almost died at birth and doctors initially didn’t believe that he would be able to walk or talk. But his mother, Martha Bryant, said he has defied the odds and that the disease has affected his ability to learn more than his physical movement.
“Learning is hard and he has overcome a lot of challenges, and despite all of that he is so driven and just hard working,” she said. “He makes up for his challenges with his hard work and his great attitude.”
Martha Bryant said her son has always loved basketball and is thankful that the team accepted him and gave him a place where he can fit in.