The autistic teen who captured the attention of Americans with his inspirational performance on the basketball court two weeks ago capped his career with a storybook ending on Saturday.
Jason McElwain, 17, was hoisted onto his teammates' shoulders and carried off the court when the Greece Athena Trojans won the sectional basketball championships, 54-51, in a come-from-behind victory. McElwain did not play, but that did not stop the tears from streaming down his face as the final buzzer signaled his team's victory. It didn't stop the students in the bleachers from rising to their feet and chanting McElwain's name.
McElwain -- who didn't start speaking until he was 5 -- has been the Trojans' manager for four years, keeping stats, running the clock, and handing out water bottles. When his coaches rewarded the senior's hard work by putting him in the final regular-season game, McElwain proved his worth on the court, draining six 3-point shots and finishing with 20 points in four minutes of his first and only game.
McElwain's story has inspired people across the country and has even sparked interest in Hollywood. McElwain's parents told The Associated Press that they had received about 25 calls from production companies interested in telling his story, from the Walt Disney Co. and Warner Bros. to independent documentary filmmakers. Before Saturday's game, Magic Johnson called to congratulate him as well as lobby for a producing role in the teen's story.
Trojans coach Jim Johnson told the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle the team did its best to give Hollywood the perfect ending.
"I'm telling you," he said. "Hollywood is going to think we made this up."
McElwain has already scheduled appearances on talk shows hosted by Ellen DeGeneres and Oprah Winfrey. ESPN has officially invited him to attend the ESPY Awards in July.