Jason’s Story – When passion for life trumps everything else

Posted by: scottstratten on Saturday, June 28th, 2008

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Jason McElwain, nicknamed J-Mac, was an autistic teenager who graduated in 2006 from Greece Athena High School near Rochester, New York. He’s noted for scoring twenty points during the final four minutes of a high school basketball game on February 16, 2006. It was the last home game of the season for the Greece Athena team.

McElwain had actually never made it onto the basketball team. He was considered too short (5′6″/167 cm) and hadn’t demonstrated an adequate skill level during tryouts. But the coach quickly saw his love and passion for the team and made the boy team manager. At the end of the basketball year, inspired by McElwain’s dedication, coach Jim Johnson thought he might take the opportunity to get McElwain onto the floor during the final home game-provided, of course, that the Greece Athena team was ahead by several points. The coach figured this would be a wonderful way to demonstrate an appreciation for McElwain’s constant enthusiasm and all that the boy had done for the team.

As it happened, the team had a comfortable lead when the coach put McElwain in the game. The boy’s appearance on the court elicited a loud cheer from the supportive home crowd. His first three-point attempt was an air ball, followed by a missed layup, but the crowd never gave up on him. Then, in the last four minutes of the game, McElwain seemingly entered “The Zone,” redeeming himself in spectacular fashion by scoring one two-pointer and six three-pointers! His last three-pointer was the final shot of the game. As the buzzer sounded, he sank the final ball-and the entire crowd erupted with wild jubilation, stormed the court, and swarmed around McElwain and his teammates as they lifted “J-Mac” onto their shoulders.

This amazing moment was captured on the team’s camcorder. The story of the autistic basketball star, and the community support that rallied around him, circulated rapidly and reached a national audience over the following few days and weeks. McElwain made numerous TV appearances (including the CBS Evening News, Oprah, and The Today Show) and met President Bush. And yes, a film of his life story is in the works.

Good news, apparently, does travel fast.

See the video about Jason

Topics: TGIM

24 Responses to “Jason’s Story – When passion for life trumps everything else”

Alma Says:
July 3rd, 2008 at 11:24 am

Awesome story, can’t wait for the movie, it will a must see movie. Best wishes to J-Mac.

Maria Says:
July 3rd, 2008 at 12:22 pm

Jason thank you for showing the world that we all have our “zone” we just need the opportunity to find it. Thank God that you were given the opportunity to find yours. Bless you.

Wil Says:
July 3rd, 2008 at 12:55 pm

What an inspiring story. Word fail to express the pride for all involved. Thank God for people who care about people.

Lorraine Says:
July 3rd, 2008 at 3:28 pm

Saw the story on the news, super! You have a fantastic coach & a great team!!!! Keep up the good work.

Donna Says:
July 3rd, 2008 at 7:33 pm

What a wonderful story. I have 3 children in autism and know how hard it can be. This coach deseveres a pat on the back, for giving him a chance. Can not wait to see more on this topic.

Autism Game Says:
September 12th, 2008 at 6:20 pm

As a father of two ASD boys, I really appreciate your blog and the information you post!

Larry D. Says:
September 30th, 2008 at 10:47 am

As a Self-Talk and Business Change Expert, I use the video footage during my training programs for the Sales Staff and Instructors at Business Colleges across the USA. What Jason did is unbelievable, but it proves that anything is possible given the opportunity. That’s exactly what Jason was given a chance! We’re all different somestimes all we need is a chance. Thank you for posting information such as this.

Richard the Wrecker Says:
October 30th, 2008 at 12:01 pm

Break the cycle.
Don’t mindlessly go through the weekly cycle, GIHM (God I hate Mondays) to TGIF (Thank God its Fridays), break your habits and you’ll BREAK THE CYCLE. Make every day a great day, no matter what others do.
Scott will show you how.


Moen Says:
November 10th, 2008 at 7:26 pm

Fantastic. It’s nice to have an uplifting story for once. If you want to see how much darkness there is to battle against just look at some of the comments of the video.

Jason Doran Says:
November 11th, 2008 at 12:15 pm

Inspiring and wonderful…given the opportunity anyone can achieve beyond our expectations…Tres Belle!

Gail Says:
November 11th, 2008 at 3:53 pm

Just want to say thanks for bringing positive thoughts, videos, philosophies to the world through your web site. I have always been a positive thinker and find myself to be a cheerleader for many friends and family members. It is good to be refueled (if there is such a word!) by your site, Great job bringing good news!!

admin Says:
December 2nd, 2008 at 8:28 am

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Political Humor Says:
December 3rd, 2008 at 12:56 am

I don\’t normally leave comments! But what you said here makes one think! Would you mind if I placed a link back from my blog?ii

Formula1 News Says:
January 26th, 2009 at 8:19 am

Very useful story for me. Much thanks.

Perry Says:
February 28th, 2009 at 3:31 pm

Can you provide more information on this?

Rick Says:
October 2nd, 2009 at 11:32 am

great to hear this.inspiring.

e-okul Says:
October 14th, 2009 at 5:06 pm

thank you webmaster.Very Good site.

DivaAnnFisher Says:
October 27th, 2009 at 10:31 am


Clear music and sound sometimes say it best!!

Amanda Alexander PCC ICF Says:
January 5th, 2010 at 1:51 pm

We all need a J–Mac around us to help us ground ourselves and understand exactly what life has to offer. It’s quite remarkable what we can achieve and the resources that we all possess, but often don’t believe.

Amanda Alexander PCC (ICF) Professional coaching for working mothers

Alex Says:
February 20th, 2010 at 8:58 am

Thank you for your site and information was beautiful

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March 2nd, 2010 at 11:22 am

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Adam Teece Says:
March 12th, 2010 at 11:29 am

This is one of the greatest story i’ve ever read, its true that even if how unqualified are you or you do not fit for the thing that you really want to have, it will not matter unless you really would love it, never surrender if its really what you want. dont make that little barricade stop you in reaching your dreams, your passion is your key to success. I have also read articles about it, please visit http://thesuccessfulgeek.com/post/finding-your-passion/ this is really a good article.

Dominique Buyak Says:
June 25th, 2010 at 5:12 am

I have tried to post a comment here and every time I submit the form times out the comment or gives an error. Do you think the webmaster possibly look into the reason there is a problem?

jackie@inspirational life stories Says:
December 10th, 2010 at 2:29 am

This is just amazing read so I just had to say thank you.


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