Gift of Love: Max, Athletic 8 Year Old - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

12/17/08 -Tyler

Gift of Love: Max, Athletic 8 Year Old

He may be the shortest one on the court, at least today, but that didn't stop Max from making basket, after basket, after basket.

"Way to go Max, beautiful!," shouts Mike Marquis, Head Coach of the Tyler Junior College Men's Basketball Team.

I asked Max what it was like playing basketball with the TJC players. "It was really nice. I liked playing with them."

And the players were impressed with his ability.  Tyler Jefferson said, "We had lots of fun playing with Max. Actually, he could shoot pretty good!"

Coach Mike Marquis and his basketball players welcomed Max, making him feel like a member of the team. "It made me feel good. You know, it's always good to help other people," says Jefferson.

And Max could us a little extra help. This eight year old has spent a major of his life in foster care. "I met max five years ago and he's changed dramatically since the first time I met him. His attitude is a 360 turnaround." Tony Nelson, a counselor with Azelway, goes on to say, "He's a good kid. He's a very good kid. He likes to go to school, does his homework and he's always helpful, always."

It's obvious that Max loves sports and is a good athlete, but he also enjoys video games, going to church and cleaning his room. He's described as resilient, outgoing and easily redirected when he gets off track.

Not only did they all become teammates for a day, these players became Max's role models. "They taught me to be a better basketball player and try being a good example like them."

The players also had some advice for Max. "I say continue to play basketball. You know you can come to college and play basketball. He said he wants to be an NBA player. So, follow that dream," says Jefferson looking at Max.

Max hopes that dream includes a forever family. "He just wants to be loved like any normal kid," says Nelson.

Handing Max a TJC T-shirt, cap and autographed ball, the players invited Max to come back and visit and attend their games. With a heart now filled with hope, Max looks at his new tall friends and simply says, "Thank you."

If you'd like more information on Max, call our Gift of Love hotline toll-free, 1-888-kids-275. 

 Gillian Sheridan, Reporting gsheridan@kltv.com

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