Sports

Teen with down syndrome sends crowd wild with unbelievable trick shot, gets Harlem Globetrotters invite

The backward half-court shot has long been something that kids on the playground love to try.

It’s a shot that rarely gets made but can bring everyone watching to their feet.

Such was the case recently at West Point-Beemer High School in northeast Nebraska.

James Meiergerd, 18, who has Down syndrome, wowed the entire gymnasium during a varsity basketball game against rival Wisner-Pilger.

During halftime, Meiergerd got up and took a chance on a backward shot from half-court in front of the entire crowd.

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With little hesitation, he leaned forward and then let it fly — and drained the shot!


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The crowd went wild as Meiergerd ran to the student section pumping his fist.

Video of the shot went viral when ABC News picked up the story.

Do you think you could make that shot in 100 tries?

Because of the media attention, none other than the Harlem Globetrotters stumbled across the video.

The Globetrotters just so happen to be coming to Omaha, Nebraska, on April 6 — and they asked Meiergerd to join them.

Meiergerd, who is an honorary member of the school’s basketball team, suits up for the school’s junior varsity games but also comes to all of the varsity games to cheer on his friends.

“The kids love him, and it’s great to see how they respond to him,” Matt Hinkel, a teacher and assistant basketball coach at the high school, said of Meiergerd. “He’s one of them.”

“He’s really the heart and soul of this basketball team,” added senior teammate Greg Johnson.

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Karen Meiergerd, James’ mom, told Omaha.com the students, school and community have always shown great support.

She said her son is “an outgoing kid who makes friends easily.”

James also participates in the Special Olympics, in events such as basketball, powerlifting, soccer and softball.

Dizzy English, a guard for the Globetrotters, told Omaha.com he’s seen the video of Meiergerd’s shot and is looking forward to meeting him.

“The video was truly inspirational,” he said.

English also highlighted what the Globetrotters and James have in common: “making people smile through basketball.”

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