Rival Denver basketball teams surprise player with disability

Data pix.

DENVER — Two eighth grade boys basketball teams from Denver showed true sportsmanship this week when they performed a random act of kindness toward a player with a disability.

Florida Pitt Waller Middle School and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Early College are fierce rivals when it comes to boys basketball.

“It’s always a big game,” explained Shurrod Maxey, a boys basketball coach from MLK. "Always a rivalry.”

Both teams were looking forward to competing against each other this past Tuesday at their biggest game of the season.

“We had a few mishaps,” Maxey said. “We lost."

Florida Pitt Waller ended up winning the game, 49-27.

While that’s an impressive score, it certainly wasn’t the most memorable highlight of the night.

Instead, that honor belongs to a student and player from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Early College, Mark Hulett.

“Everything was happening so fast!” explained the eighth grader.

Hulett is a student with a disability. But that’s never kept him away from the court. He’s been playing basketball since he was in elementary school.

“Our students really love him on the team!” said Maxey.

That was apparent at Tuesday’s game.

As it was wrapping up, Hulett jumped in and his fellow teammates threw him the ball.

Hulett missed the first three shots. But on the fourth shot, which was tossed back to him by a player on Florida Pitt Waller’s team, Hulett nailed it!

"Right as the buzzer was about to go, he put up a shot, made it, and you wouldn’t have known who won the game!” said Brandon Jenkins, head coach of the boys basketball team at Florida Pitt Waller. "We all thought Mark won the game at that point!"

It’s not often you see a competing team help a rival out. But in this case, the players on Florida Pitt Waller’s team wanted to make it a special night for Hulett.

"It was about trying to give more credit to him so he could just score the basket,” said Justus Michael, captain of Florida Pitt Waller’s boys basketball team. "I just wanted him to achieve his dreams”.

Both schools are proud of their players for showing Hulett, the crowd and one another what true sportsmanship is all about.

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