Teen who lost his hands makes 3-point shots on the basketball court

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- Every week, 14-year-old Jamarion Styles set himself up for disappointment. Every week, he 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," Jamarion said. "Then they would tell me just go home. You can break someone's heart like that."

As we first reported last year, 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. 

We asked why doesn't he play soccer.

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Jamarion in class

CBS News

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

Which is why on the first day of 8th grade at Eagles Landing Middle School, Jamarion took his case to basketball coach Darian Williams, saying he wanted to be on the team.

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

But what he was thinking was a little bit more complicated.

"This man has no arms, how is he going to play basketball? 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.

That's how the Eagles got their first, armless basketball player. Jamarion, number two, 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," said Darian.

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Jamarion taking practice shots in the gym

CBS News

Still, he sat on the bench most of the season, until one day the coach put him in the game with about six minutes left. When he eventually got the ball on the far side of court, everyone yelled, "Shoot it."  So he did, and sank a 3-pointer.

If you didn't quite see that, don't worry, because shortly after, he got the ball again -- this time on the near side for another 3-pointer, at the buzzer. 

Jamarion Styles, the kid no one would pick, was now everyone's hero.

Since that story first aired, Jamarion went on to play freshman basketball, still number two, and he has every intention of making varsity one day.

But here's the best part: Since hitting those threes, Jamarion can now play all he wants at the community center. He's picked all the time. The only thing he won't play, is the victim. 

When we asked if he would want his arms back if he could, he said "I don't need them." Who needs hands, when you've got this kind of touch?

  • Steve Hartman

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