For One Special Student, A Slam Dunk
February 27, 2013
Warning: you're not going to want to watch this clip unless you've got a tissue handy.
With just 10 minutes left in the basketball season, Peter Morales, the Coronado High School Thunderbirds head coach, put his team manager into the game.
Mitchell Marcus, a beloved member of the team, is developmentally disabled. Unable to play himself, Marcus is the squad's manager and morale booster with a love of the game that surpasses just about every team member combined.
In order to thank Marcus for his support over the course of the season, coach Morales decided to suit him up and let him play during the last couple minutes of the last game – win, lose or tie.
"He's just an amazing person that our basketball team loves being around," coach Peter Morales told CBS News.
Over the course of the game's last 90 seconds, teammates repeatedly passed Marcus the ball, though he was unable to score a basket. With moments to go, he accidentally sent the ball sailing out of bounds.
What happened next astonished everyone.
Jonathon Montanez, a senior on the rival Franklin High School team, decided to let Marcus have one last shot. Instead of passing the ball to his teammates, Montanez called Marcus by name and lobbed him a pass.
Marcus easily scored a layup in the game's final seconds. It wasn't the winning shot – the Thunderbirds were up 15 anyway – but was a basket worth far more to everyone than two more points on the board.
"I think I'll cry about it for the rest of my life," Marcus' grateful mom Amy told CBS.