Like many kids, 13-year-old Jamarion Styles loves to play basketball. But sadly, he was left with a feeling of rejection when he didn’t make the team at his local community center in Boca Raton.
“They would start picking teams and I would be the only one left out,” Jamarion said. “And then they would just tell me ‘just go home.’ You can break someone’s heart like that.”
As an infant, due to a rare infection, Jamarion lost his hands and most of his arms. And despite having to get used to constant stares from peers, he never let it discourage him.
His family and friends would propose alternatives like soccer, but Jamarion wasn’t having it. “Yeah, I hear it every day,” he said. “You would think that I would be good at soccer. I’m really not. I’m horrible.”
Eventually, Jamarion had enough of the rejection. On his first day at Eagles Landing Middle School, he confronted coach Darian Williams and asked him to give him a chance on the school basketball team.
Williams was naturally concerned with Jamarion’s chances on the court, but ultimately gave him a chance to try out. He recalled how Jamarion told him, “‘Mr. Williams, I’ve never been on a team before. Even if I don’t play, I just want to be on the team.'” Williams couldn’t refuse such dedication.
From that day on, The Eagles were blessed with their first armless basketball player. The new number 2, Jamarion, was regarded as one of the hardest workers in the entire squad. “He was usually the first one in the gym and usually the last one to leave,” Darian said.
For the majority of the season, Jamarion had to remain on the bench, until recently. With six minutes left on the clock, Coach Williams asked Jamarion to come on.
After finally receiving the ball, Jamarion took his chance, and sank a 3-pointer. This was shortly followed by another 3-pointer that he scored at the buzzer. In a couple of minutes, Jamarion had gone from community outcast to basketball hero.
Jamarion’s new found reputation as the Eagles’ hottest property means that he is now able to play at the community center whenever he wants. He’s also interested in playing for the school volleyball team.