Utah Jazz Basketball Team Signs 5-Year-Old…
Salt Lake City’s professional basketball team, the Utah Jazz, made a new signing at the beginning of the month, who proved his worth with a slam dunk within minutes of being signed.
And he is only five years old.
“We are a young team and we decided that we’d go even a little younger,” announced Jazz president Randy Rigby at a media conference. “JP Gibson is the newest member of the Utah Jazz team for the day.”
JP got his own signing ceremony, signing his name to a one-day contract in purple crayon. He then donned his very own number “1” jersey and joined the rest of the team for their annual preseason intrasquad scrimmage at the EnergySolutions Arena.
The basketball-enthusiast took to the court in the third quarter. He was passed the ball, managing to dribble it into the lane as other players failed to take the ball from him. (For those who don’t know, the “lane” is a path-like rectangular area that leads to the basket.)
As JP made it into the lane, centre Rudy Gobert lifted the team’s shortest player so he could dunk the ball into the basket. The crowd erupted into a roaring standing ovation with JP’s mum and dad, Megan and Josh, and little sister Elsie, 2, cheering him on as well. Still held up by Rudy, JP was able to reach to high-five all of his teammates.
The event was set up by the Utah Jazz in collaboration with Anything Can Be, a project from photographer Jon Diaz that works to help children with cancer achieve their dreams.
JP was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia two years ago. His family thought they were going to the stadium for a quick meet-and-greet with the team and a couple of quick photos.
In a statement, Megan Gibson expressed how much her son loves sports – but especially basketball. She said that when JP was just over a year old he would enjoy watching basketball games with his dad. When he wasn’t even a year-and-a-half, JP wanted to “shoot hoops” before bedtime every night.
JP’s whole adventure was captured on camera by Jon Diaz, who will use the photos from the day t create a storybook for the family.
“We had no clue anything like this was going to happen,” Josh Gibson explained. “The Jazz have been great at making this dream come true… We’re happy that there’re great people out there that care.”
“He knows he has to be six before he can play Junior Jazz,” Megan added, “and he reminds us all the time that he can’t wait until he’s six.”