This guest post is by Autism Speaks staffer Kerry Magro, a motivational speaker and best-selling author who’s on the autism spectrum. You can learn more about Kerry on Facebook and Twitter. This blog originally appeared here.
Dear LeBron James,
I’ve always believed that random acts of kindness can go a long way in this world. The act of kindness I am writing to you about is when you made the night of Aaron Miller, a Special Olympics MVP, who was a special guest at one of your road games against the Boston Celtics. At halftime Aaron’s story was shared on the JumboTron about the challenges he's been able to overcome. As an avid NBA League Pass subscriber, I was able to catch the moment on TV when you went over to Aaron, shook his hand and showed a sign of respect and support towards him. It was a beautiful moment, and the smile on his face was truly unforgettable.
I can relate a lot to Aaron's story. When I was growing up, I had to overcome countless obstacles due to having autism. One venue that helped me when times were rough was basketball. I could tell you every single player on every single team when I was eight years old. Then when I got older, I turned watching basketball into playing it in high school. I went from an obese 230-pound freshman trying out for his JV team and failing miserably to a 170-pound sophomore who dove after countless loose balls because I didn’t want to ‘go home.’ I wanted to stay on the court no matter the costs.
My determination helped me get one of the final spots on our JV team. In 2012, my story of making the team would be featured on NBA.com on World Autism Awareness Day with a picture I took with NBA Legend Oscar Robertson. Your influence of striving towards greatness helps a lot in my work to be the best I can be. Today, I’ve volunteered in several Special Olympics events to help people like you did with Aaron.
— NBA (@NBA) April 2, 2012
Then to add to what you had done for Aaron, you also gave him your sneakers with your autograph on them. Later that night, I caught FOX Sports Ohio where you mentioned your sneakers for individuals with disabilities that Aaron had been wearing. I bought those same exact shoes one of the first weeks they were out. I struggled with tying my shoes as a kid due to my motor difficulties. I later wrote a letter to Nike thanking them for making these shoes possible for people like me.
You really are a class act. Between what you did for Aaron, supporting a shoe line to help our disability community, and all your other philanthropy work, you are making a lasting impact on the lives of others. We need more people to lead by your example.
I can only hope one day I can make a similar impact on someone like you did on Aaron in that moment. One line after the game that stayed with me was when you told a reporter, “It’s not for the fans. It's not for you guys. It's for him.”
With everything going on in sports today, it's nice to know someone out there is trying to do something nice for others. I wanted to thank you for that.