Shot of a lifetime - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Shot of a lifetime

By Ryan Peterson - bio | email

CANTON, TEXAS (KLTV) - Erick Nava isn't your typical 13 year old.

"When the bells ring, if you're in the hall way it takes ten minutes to get through because everyone wants to talk to him," said Nava's teacher Tamy Dickerson.

Nava says he's a celebrity. A school celebrity living with a lifelong disorder.  Down's syndrome.

"We love working with Erick," said Nava's teacher Chris Duke.  "Erick is like a teddy bear."

Until's he's on the basketball court.

"He wants to win a basketball game and a trophy like Michael Jordan," said Duke.  "Sports are his passion. His life.

So Canton 8th grade basketball coach Gary Fain decided to let Nava be apart of the team. 

"He teaches us what teamwork is all about," said Fain.  "He's not selfish, he's happy to just have a uniform on."

"He's just one of the kids around here and wanted to be on the basketball team," said Duke.  "It was like a dream come true."

The dream got even better when Coach Fain let Nava actually leave the bench and take the court.

"I wasn't sure what to expect from Erick," said Fain.  "He got out there and the kids lined him up. They got confidence in him and started giving him the basketball to shoot."

Nava didn't score, but got another chance in Canton's next home game.  After a technical foul, Fain gave Nava a chance at the free throw line in the final minutes.

"He sunk it," said Dickerson with a smile.  "The crowd went wild."

"I think the first time he made a basket, he waved at the cheerleaders," said Fain.

Nava wasn't finished.  Playing a like an all-star, he swished two three point shots in the final seconds.

"It's hard to describe," said Fain.  "But it's a great feeling to have the crowd yelling for Erick. Not only our fans, but the opposing fans. The other players were cheering him on. It was a great feeling."

Nava got to win a basketball game.  What about a trophy?  Fain surprised him on Thursday with a trophy of his very own.

"He's gotten to be a part of the family," said Duke.  "Our kids adore him and it's hard not to love Erick Nava."

Michael Jordan could only be so lucky.


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