Hansel Enmanuel lost his left arm when he was only a child, but that didn’t stop him from pursuing his dream of becoming a professional basketball player.
19-year-old Hansel became an online sensation last year when a highlight video of his high-school basketball exploits went viral. People love underdog success stories, and Hansel Enmanuel’s is particularly special. He was only six when a pile of cinder blocks fell on him, crushing his left arm so badly that doctors had no choice but to amputate it below the shoulder. It was a devastating blow to Hansel and his family, but it only made him work harder in order to fulfill his dream of playing basketball at a professional level.
After a stellar high school career, the 6-foot-6 point guard made his college basketball scoring debut last weekend when he scored his first points for Northwestern State University’s Demons in their win over the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks. He was 2-of-3 from the field and 1-of-5 from the foul line along with two rebounds in eight minutes.
“I had to keep going after the layup — that was my first bucket,” Enmanuel said after the game. “I know my family was proud. I had to keep working. You can’t give up.”
Born in the Dominican Republic, Hansel Enmanuel later moved to Florida with his family and developed a love for basketball very early on in his life. But that love went away for a while after his terrible accident. He couldn’t even tie his shoelaces or drink a glass of water, and he got so depressed that he didn’t want to do anything. But as he came to terms with his disability and discovered that he could actually do a lot of things with just one arm, his love for basketball was rekindled.
He spent hours practicing on the basketball court learning to bounce the ball and dribble one-handed, practicing one-handed shots, and gradually regained his self-confidence. His parents, however, were reluctant to let him play, fearing that his disability would prevent him from competing against able-bodied players.
“He didn’t want me to play because of the beatings I might get,” Enmanuel recently said about his father. But he didn’t get any beatings. Instead, he blew everyone away with his skills and became an online sensation in the process.
College basketball scouts started noticing Enmanuel, as did NBA players like Kyrie Irving who actually came to see him play and take his photo taken with him. Even NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal acknowledged his skillsin a social media post.
“I wish people understood how different Hansel Enmanuel is,” the LA Lakers legend said. “He outplayed some of the best high school players with one arm.”
Hansel Enmanuel is the fourth one-armed player to play in the college league and dreams of one day becoming the first to play in the NBA.
Source: Oddity Central