Armless basketball player makes his play for another team

Armless basketball player tries a new sport

Boca Raton, Fla. — Every week he set himself up for disappointment. Every week, Jamarion Styles came to a community center in Boca Raton, Florida hoping to play basketball with the other kids. And every week, he was rejected.

"They would start picking teams and I would be the only one left out. And then they would tell me just go home. You can break someone's heart like that," he said.

As we first reported, the problem was obvious to everyone but Jamarion. He lost his hands — and most of his arms — as an infant due to a rare, bacterial infection. But he insisted that was no reason to give up his hoop dreams.

"You would think that I'd be good at soccer. I'm really not. I'm horrible," Jamarion said.

Which is why, on the first day of class at Eagles Landing Middle School, Jamarion took his case to basketball coach Darian Williams and said he wanted to be on the team.

"I said, 'OK, great, just make sure you try out,'" Darian said.

What he was really thinking was, "This man has no arms."

"But man, he told me, 'Mr. Williams, I've never been on a team before. Even if I don't play, I just want to be on the team.' And how could I say no to that," Darian said.

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Jamarion Styles in class. CBS News

That's how the Eagles got their first armless basketball player. Jamarion, who got the number 2, quickly earned a reputation as the hardest worker on the squad.

"He was usually the first one in the gym and usually the last one to leave," Darian said.

Still, he sat on the bench most of the season until, one day, coach Williams put him in the game with about six minutes left. When he eventually got the ball on the far side of the court, everyone yelled, "Shoot it." So he did and sank a three-pointer.

If you didn't quite see that, don't worry. Shortly after, he got the ball again — this time on the near side for another three-pointer at the buzzer. The kid no one would pick was now everyone's hero.

After we first told this story, Jamarion continued to play basketball in high school and now the rising junior is hoping to play football as well. He tried out for the team last year and didn't make it, so of course he's trying out again.

Even if he doesn't make it, you can bet they'll be another sport. Because the only thing Jamarion Styles won't play is the victim. Even if he could get his arms back, he said he wouldn't want them.

"I don't need them," he said.

Who needs hands when you've got his kind of touch.

To contact On the Road, or to send us a story idea, email us: OnTheRoad@cbsnews.com.

  • Steve Hartman

    Steve Hartman has been a CBS News correspondent since 1998, having served as a part-time correspondent for the previous two years.