Eagles Landing MS Player Overcomes Disability to Become Internet Sensation
For Jamarion Styles, it was just another basketball game. With a few seconds left on the clock, he nailed two back-to-back three pointers; one a buzzer beater that brought the crowd at Eagles Landing Middle School to their feet.
“I knew it was going in,” Jamarion explains. “I told my coach that I had just changed up my shot a little.”
Video of the baskets and the crowd’s reaction was posted online by his friend and classmate Spencer Vogel. “I wanted people to see how special he is,” Vogel says.
The next thing the boys knew, ESPN was calling. By the next day the game video had made SportsCenter – any athlete’s dream – and was going viral. The Miami Heat has reached out to highlight him during an upcoming game, and his phone hasn’t stopped ringing with request for interviews, including from producers for “Ellen”and CBS News.
So what makes an 8th grader who is playing basketball for his middle school an Internet sensation? Jamarion has no arms.
Due to in infection at eight months old, Jamarion lost his arms and has had to adapt to the life with challenges that he doesn’t let phase him. “I didn’t think it was a big deal,” Jamarion says.
Having transferred to Eagles Landing as an eighth grader, Jamarion met the basketball coach on the first day and told him to expect him at tryouts.
“Every day, he’d say I’m going to play for the team,” says Darian Williams, the basketball coach. “That showed me that he has true passion for the game.”
Jamarion made the team, playing in every game of the season, and his fellow players embraced him as a teammate, not because he has overcome adversity, but because he’s got skills.
“I used to go to the park to play pick-up games, and no one would pick me up,” he says. “So I would walk back to my house and pick up a ball to play alone. Eventually the other players would drive by my house and could see that I could play and they started to pick me up.”
Jamarion has prosthetic arms that were 3D printed for him, even special ones to play the drums- something he does almost as much as he hits the court. But he finds that he rarely wears them. “They restrict me too much,” he says. And Jamarion won’t let anything hold him back.
Jamarion’s true passion is football, where he plays running back, no less. He hopes that as he moves to high school, he will be able to join the football team and see where it takes him. He doesn’t let what others perceive as a disability get in the way of his aspiration to someday play for the NBA or NFL.
“Don’t listen to what others tell you,” he says. “And do what you gotta do.”