Jason McElwain, nicknamed J-Mac, was born in Greece, New York in 1987 with autism. He initially struggled when interacting with other children, but began to develop social skills as he grew older. Although he was placed in special education classes, McElwain enjoyed basketball and was appointed as a manager of Greece Athena High School’s varsity basketball team.
On the last game of his senior year, head coach Jim Johnson surprised McElwain with a jersey allowing him to join the team on the bench and perhaps even play a few minutes. With about four minutes left and Greece Athena sitting on a comfortable lead, coach Johnson called for J-Mac. It was about to become his first appearance in uniform.
Though he missed his first two shots, McElwain didn’t miss again, nailing six three-point shots and one two-pointer, finishing with twenty points.When the final buzzer sounded, fans rushed the court in a heartwarming moment that seems destined for bright lights.
The story gathered extensive national media coverage and became an inspiration to millions worldwide. Since that moment, Johnson has been an active supporter for autism awareness and has a deep desire to impact the lives of those on the autism spectrum.