Coach Cooper visits Shepherd Center, leaves inspired

October 25, 2016

“It really started off when this one guy told me ‘you’re probably not going to be able to play basketball,'” said James Adams, a member of the Shepherd Stealers wheelchair basketball team. “And I was like, I’m going to prove you wrong.”

Adams went beyond proving the guy wrong. 

As a 6-month-old baby, Adams got meningitis, which led to a quadruple-amputee. As a 13-year-old teenager, he not only walked everywhere he went, he also picked up the game of basketball and never looked back.

Today, Adams runs his own recording studio and remains active with the Shepherd Stealers in Atlanta. He’s averaging about 12 points a game while maintaining a fireball of energy on the court. He aspires to one day make the USA team.

His teammate, Brent O’Grady, shares the same love for the game. 

“My first word out of my mouth when I was a kid, my parents told me, was basketball,” O’Grady said. 

O’Grady was born with spina bifida, a condition when a baby is in the womb and the spinal cord does not fully develop. Per the Spina Bifida Association, about eight babies are born with it every day in the United States.

Nonetheless, it hasn’t held O’Grady back from pursuing the game he loves. This marks his 14th year playing basketball and he’s working toward pursuing the medical assistant program at his college.

O’Grady and Adams’ determination inspires many, including members of the Atlanta Dream.

Michael Cooper, head coach of the Dream, attended the team’s practice for the first time last Thursday and left feeling enlightened. 

“For me, I’m not going to cry about the little things anymore because little things don’t matter because people that are overcoming big things, are doing normal things,” Cooper said. 

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