Florien teen with disability lives basketball dream

Florien, La. (KALB) In the final minutes of Monday nights basketball game between Florien and Simpson High School, the Black Cats team manager Brently Miller, who lives with Cerebral Palsy, fulfilled his life-long dream of joining his twin brother Bailey on the court.

Melanie with her twins Brently and Bailey Miller and Florien Black Cats coach Eddie Jones.

"It's an experience that I'll never be able to forget," said Miller. "I love just watching my brother play and all my teammates. There's just something about the game that I just love."

Brently's mother Melanie said it touched her heart "At one point the entire student body and Simpson school were standing up, cheering for Brently. And when it was supposed to be their ball they kept chanting 'white ball, white ball' because they wanted to get him the ball so he could shoot again."

But Brently's miraculous story began nearly 18 years ago when Melanie suddenly went into labor at just 26 weeks. Bailey was born in on the side of highway 28 in Gardner as the Miller's rushed to the hospital. Brently followed after a C-section at Cabrini hospital where the twins would spend three months in the neonatal intensive care unit. Melanie said the boys weighed only a couple of pounds and could fit in her husband's hand.

Miller was flooded with emotion at the sight of Brently leading the team out of the tunnel in a Florien uniform before Monday's game.

"As soon as they opened (the tunnel) and the music came on," she said as tears welled in her eyes. "His face was priceless."

At the age of seven, Brently ditched his walker and never looked back. The twins grew up playing ball for their uncle, Florien boys basketball coach Eddie Jones with Bailey on the court and Brently on the sidelines, always studying the game.

Coach Jones said he can't help but laugh sometimes at Brentley's comments during games. "He is Bailey's biggest critic and more often than not what Brently says in the background is right and what needs to be said. So it's like having another coach on the bench."

"We'll argue about it," explained Bailey. "But he's always right somehow in the end. Sometimes I think I take it (basketball) for granted and I just see him over there. I know he'd love to be out here playing with us...it's stuff like that, making memories, making it count. Every moment."

The fanfare for Florien's all-star was also a special moment for the visiting Simpson High School Broncos.

"They realize that they are part of something bigger," said SHS boys coach Jade Losavio. "They can make this guy's high school career, letting him score and having a good time with it."

Broncos manager Jackson Richardson was so moved that he lead a student prayer in the locker room after the game.

"It was very exciting but at the same time, it was very emotional. I could tell in his face that he was having fun. It just gave me like a rush of happiness. it was inspiring, it was very humbling for me. It let you see a perspective from someone who has lived a totally different lifestyle from you."

The experience, illustrating a classic basketball mantra adopted by the Broncos--'Sports don't build character, they reveal it.'



 
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