Teen with Down Syndrome Nails Backwards Trick Shot, Gets Invitation from Harlem Globetrotter

By Li Yen, Epoch Times
March 19, 2019 Updated: March 25, 2019

There are different types of basketball scoring shots—jump shot, hook shot, bank shot, and slam dunk, to name a few. But have you ever tried a backwards shot from half-court? A teenager with Down syndrome from Nebraska nailed this trick shot perfectly in front of his schoolmates and a Harlem Globetrotter star on two different occasions in January 2018.

During halftime of a basketball game at West Point-Beemer High School in Nebraska, James Meiergerd stood at half court and flung a basketball backwards over his head.

James, who also does wrestling and has participated in the Special Olympics, did that for around 10 times in front of his schoolmates.

Winner With Down Syndrome 发布于 2017年11月4日周六

On the 11th try, he finally scored! When the basketball went through the net, the whole gymnasium erupted with cheers.

James had practiced for a couple of weeks for this glorious moment. He excitedly embraced his friend to celebrate his triumph.

“The kids love him, and it’s great to see how they respond to him,” Matt Hinkel, teacher and assistant basketball coach at the school, told the Omaha World-Herald. “He’s one of them.”

I guess James Meiergerd decided to be the half time entertainment at the basketball game against Wisner Pilger tonight.

Winner With Down Syndrome 发布于 2018年1月5日周五

The brilliant trick shot was caught on film by James’s friend, Manny Barragan.

And James’s mom, Karen Meiergerd, later shared it with the famed trick shot team Harlem Globetrotters on Facebook.

The video ended up spreading far and wide, grabbing national attention.

“It’s pretty big stuff for small town Nebraska,” said D.J. Weddle, West Point-Beemer High School’s principal, alluding to the attention the community received as a result of James’s inspiring shot.

James Meiergerd 发布于 2016年12月7日周三

The Harlem Globetrotters took notice of James’s amazing talent, and they responded.

On Monday, Jan. 29, 2018, one of the Globetrotters’ players, Orlando Melendez, went to West Point-Beemer High School to personally invite James to be their guest at a game in Omaha on April 6, 2018.

Meeting James in person, Melendez asked the teen to show him his backwards half-court shot again.

James complied. In front of reporters, Melendez, schoolmates, parents, and other family members, he attempted to toss the basketball with his back facing the basket for a second time.

After the 10th attempt, the crowd in the gymnasium went wild as the ball swept through the net!

Thrilled by Meiergerd’s feat, Melendez and several other students ran to hug him.

Special Olympics Nebraska 发布于 2015年10月17日周六

Two months later on April 6, 2018, James fulfilled his dream as he attended the Harlem Globetrotters’ game at the CenturyLink Center with 180 of his family and friends.

“It is like a dream come true for him. You would never think this would happen as he is growing up and that he would do something like this,” mom Karen Meiergerd told WOWT.

Winner With Down Syndrome 发布于 2017年9月11日周一

At the game, James and his almost 200 family and friends all wore a shirt with an inspiring message.

“‘Winner with Down Syndrome.’ Just trying to make everyone aware to never say no to a child or anyone because you can always do it,” Karen Meiergerd said.

On the Winner With Down Syndrome Facebook page, the mom wrote: “I want people to be aware that children and adults with disabilities should not have limits.”

Well said, Karen Meiergerd! With positivity, determination, and faith, there are no limits to what individuals with Down syndrome or other disabilities can accomplish. Just look ask her son James!

Watch Meiergerd nail his backwards trick shot: