Jason McElwain, the autistic basketball player who won ESPY Best Moment in Sports Award
Jason McElwain was a little known autistic teenager, until February 15th, 2006. On that very day, Jason McElwain played in a basketball game for the Greece Athena team, against Spencerport High School, for a division title. Since Greece Athena got a large lead, so Coach Johnson decided to let McElwain play in the last four minutes and nineteen seconds of the game. What happened next is incredible. It took only that 4 minutes for Jason McElwain to become a star. He initially missed two shots, but shaking off that stereotypical image associated with autism, Jason McElwain scored 20 points in four minutes, making a school record.
Born on October 1, 1987, to David and Debbie McElwain, Jason McElwain was diagnosed with autism when he was two years old. Jason initially struggled to interact with other children, but as he grew older, he began to develop social skills. He was placed in special education classes. Jason McElwain was introduced to basketball by his older brother Josh. Later, he was appointed as the manager of Greece Athena High School’s varsity basketball team.
Jason McElwain was highly praised by the then President of US, George W. Bush. He won ESPY Award for the Best Moment in Sports in 2006. It opened numerous doors for McElwain to raise awareness about autism through TV appearances and motivational speeches.
An artist named Iron Butter had dedicated a song to Jason and his accomplishments on the court. Jason McElwain wrote a 243 pages long book – The Game of My Life, with the help of his family, coach and teammates. Columbia Pictures is going to make a film based on his life.
Jason McElwain is also an accomplished runner. He was qualified for the Boston Marathon after completing the MVP Health Care Rochester Marathon in 15th place, in 3 hours, 1 minute and 41 seconds. In 2014, he completed the Boston Marathon in 2:57.05.