Autistic Basketball Star Makes Bush Weep

There are some moments in life when time stands still. For Jason McElwain -- known to his classmates in Rochester, N.Y., as "J-Mac" -- those moments seem to be happening a lot lately.

Jason, who suffers from autism and learning disabilities, is now known throughout the country for sinking six three-point shots and one field goal in four minutes. For three seasons, he never played on his high school basketball team but rather acted as a motivator and team manager.

"I've never shot that well in my life," said Jason, 16.

His story of overcoming disabilities struck a chord with President Bush, who met Jason.

"As you can see, a special person has greeted me at the airport," Bush said when they met, taking Jason by the arm. "Jason, mind if I call you 'J-Mac?' I'll call him J-Mac. You can call me George W."

Jason and his mother, Debbie McElwain, were excited to meet the president, and she coached her son on how to react to one of the most powerful men in the world. It's been just one of the many changes that have occurred since the miracle game. The family has fielded 35 movie offers, and McElwain said the phone rang nonstop.

"Well, we've lost a lot of sleep, and we've had a lot of phone calls," she said. "The phone calls have died down, but every once in awhile we have to take the phone off the hook so we could take a break."

The president said that Jason's story had inspired many people, including himself.

"Saw it on TV and I wept, just like a lot of other people," Bush said. "It's just one of those stories that touched a lot of people's hearts. You probably didn't realize the impact you were going to have on people all across America and around the world."

For his part, Jason didn't realize just how the world would embrace him.

"I didn't realize that until e-mails came from families and kids with autism," he said. "Autism doesn't affect me at all."

Now, Jason has his sights on March Madness. He predicts the University of Connecticut will take it all because the team is more athletic than Duke, a team he said has a penchant for choking. His favorite college player is Gerry McNamara, known as G-Mac, who led Syracuse to an amazing run in the Big East tournament.

"As you can tell, he's very involved in basketball," his mother said.

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