Five years ago in Texas, Franklin High School senior Jonathon Montanez received accolades from people around the nation for his amazing act of sportsmanship.
And as it turns out, verbal accolades weren’t his only reward.
But the story doesn’t start with Montanez. It starts with Mitchell Marcus, who in 2013 served as the manager for Coronado High School’s men’s basketball team.
Montanez, who has a developmental disability, loves basketball, despite the fact that he had never played in any of the team’s games.
“He’s just an amazing person that our basketball team loves being around,” Coronado coach Peter Morales told CBS News at the time.
Then, prior to the final game of the regular season, Morales told Marcus to put on a jersey.
Marcus would have been happy just to be in uniform, but there was more in store for him. Morales planned on letting Marcus play in the game’s last minutes, no matter what the score was, even if that meant Coronado lost.
With under two minutes to go in Coronado’s match-up against Franklin High, Morales put his manager in.
“And I just started hearing, ‘Mitchell, Mitchell,'” Morales said.
At that point, Coronado had a big lead, so their main goal was to get Marcus the ball so he could score. However, the strategy didn’t work.
“He wasn’t going to be able to score, but I was hoping that he was happy that he was just put in the game,” Morales said.
With seconds to go, Marcus turned the ball over. That put the basketball into the hands of Montanez, who was supposed to inbound it to one of his teammates.
Instead, Montanez yelled out Marcus’ name and passed him the ball. Thanks to that “assist,” Marcus was finally able to score a basket.
“I was raised to treat others like you want to be treated,” Montanez said later. “I just thought Mitchell deserved his chance, deserved his opportunity.”
Marcus and Montanez ended up becoming friends, and the hearts of people across America were warmed by the story.
What’s more, the chancellor of Texas Tech University noticed and offered Montanez a scholarship.
Now, Montanez is set to graduate this spring with a degree in physical therapy.
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