This is one of the most incredible, feel-good, underdog stories ever, one that resonates with and lifts hearts around the world. The incredible thing is, hardly anyone would’ve known about it, if it hadn’t been for a dedicated high school senior.
It happened in February 2006, during Greece Athena High School’s varsity basketball team’s game against Spencerport High School. It was Greece Athena’s last home game and the team was going for a division title.
There were just about 4 minutes left in the game, but the home team was so far ahead that the game was essentially in the bag. So the coach, Jim Johnson, decided to put the team manager/waterboy in, just so he could feel the thrill of wearing a jersey.
What happened next is the stuff of legends.
Jason McElwain missed the first couple shots. But then something changed, he got “hot as a pistol,” and dunked shot after shot after shot. By the end, he’d dunked six 3-point shots and one 2-point shot, adding 20 points for a total score of 79-43.
And his team went crazy.
Marcus Luciano was a senior that year and filmed the game in the bleachers with a VHS setup. The coach had specifically instructed him to only film the formations, but he managed to capture Jason’s entire, mind-blowing streak. One of Jason’s teachers was also watching the game and got a copy into the hands of a local sports newscaster.
Within days, the story had gone national. Jason and Jim appeared on countless news segments and talk shows, and the young wonder boy got to meet everyone from Oprah to Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson. He was even presented with the ESPY Award for the Best Moment in Sports in 2006.
In the years since, Jason has worked as a motivational speaker, as well as continued in his position as volunteer coach for the school’s varsity team.
Early last year, however, he announced his “retirement” so he can focus on another passion: physical fitness and running marathons.
“To me, he was the essence of loyalty,” Jim, the coach, said following his announcement.
“Loyalty and dedication is something you’re always trying to teach your players about what it takes to be on a successful team. I think Jason was a great illustration of that. He was always willing to go the extra mile.”
Watch the incredible game that launched this young man to fame in the clip below, and remember to share this inspirational feel-good story today!