NBA's Utah Jazz Sign 5-Year-Old With Leukemia to Ceremonial Contract
Recently, it hasn't been the best time to be a fan of professional sports. Between horrific domestic abuse incidents, ongoing concerns about concussions, and a slew of other dismal off-the-field behavior, supporting teams is becoming more of a chore by the week.
The Utah Jazz did their best to turn the tide on those negative feelings Monday, signing 5-year-old JP Gibson to a ceremonial one-day contract.
JP, who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2012, went to Utah's EnergySolutions Arena on Monday evening to sign his contract and take the court with his new teammates. His contract read in part, "The Jazz appreciate his love of basketball, thank him for being a great fan, and applaud his continued strength and courage."
The team tweeted a picture of him holding up his jersey after signing the deal:
Welcome to the Jazz, JP! pic.twitter.com/kI36etzAK2— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) October 6, 2014
JP's dream night didn't end there. During the second half of the team's intrasquad scrimmage, the newest member clocked into the game and immediately made his impact felt.
After receiving an inbounds pass from Jeremy Evans, the boy dribbled down the court, expertly used a screen from Evans to sneak by Dante Exum, and jammed home a two-handed dunk (with some assistance from 7'2" center Rudy Gobert).
Check out the play below:
"JP loves most sports, but basketball is definitely his favorite," said Megan Gibson, JP's mother, in a statement released by the team. "When he was just over a year old, he would sit with my husband Josh watching games. He started insisting on shooting hoops for an hour each night before bedtime when he was just 15 months old. He knows he has to be six before he can play Junior Jazz, and he reminds us all the time that he can't wait until he's six."
According to Aaron Falk of The Salt Lake Tribune, JP is undergoing daily chemotherapy treatments until May of 2015. Thanks to the Jazz, the little man got to put all of that behind him—for one night, at least—and live out his dream of becoming a professional basketball player.
Watch out, LeBron James. JP Gibson is coming after you in a decade-and-a-half.
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