Brett Pearce brings you this week’s bit of good news — Five-year-old JP Gibson was recruited to the Utah Jazz basketball team for one excellent day.
Growing up in the 90s, the era of Michael Jordan, and the Chicago Bulls dominating basketball, all I wanted to do was grow up and play professional basketball. Those guys were just so unbelievably cool. I drank Sprite, wore Nike shoes and wanted to “Be Like Mike”.
I’ve grown up since then, although not by much. Even though I’m a short guy with bad knees, a few extra kilos around the middle and one of the ugliest jump shots ever seen, I still think I could make the league. Let’s just ignore the fact that the last time I ran was probably around the time I thought picking up a guitar might get girls to pay attention to me (they still haven’t).
Well guess what, earlier this week, a 5 year old became a far more successful basketball player. It would be absolutely depressing, if not for the fact it was an amazing display of charity and goodwill on the part of the NBA and the “Anything Can Be” project.
Five year-old JP Gibson was diagnosed with lymphoblastic leukaemia, a disease that’s curable, yet debilitating. In one of the classiest moves in sport, JP was signed to a one-day contract with the Utah Jazz.
This allowed JP, an avid basketball fan, to participate in a scrimmage with the team in full uniform. After warming up with the team, JP Gibson took the court, dribbling as fast as his 5 year-old legs could carry him, before a team mate lifted him up for a dunk.
For a child that watched basketball with his father since he was a year old, and insisted on shooting hoops for an hour before bed from the age of 15 months, this is just an amazing opportunity.
The look of absolute joy on not only the face of JP Gibson, but those of his Jazz teammates makes this a little overwhelming for a grown man who may or may not have had something in his eye.
How many 5 year olds do you know who have signed an NBA contract!?
Anything can be people.
Now let’s hope a friend can lift me up for a dunk when I next hit the court for 10 minutes of rigorous exercise before sitting down to have a cigarette and wishing I was at the pub.