Special Olympians get their shot in Smith Center
Posted January 13, 2013
Updated January 14, 2013
Chapel Hill, N.C. — The North Carolina Tar Heels made hoop dreams come true for some Special Olympics athletes from around the state Sunday.
More than 100 Special Olympics athletes took part in a two-hour basketball clinic with the Tar Heels team. Many were in awe of being in the Smith Center, much less being on the court with the Tar Heels.
"I'm a big Tar Heels fan and everything, and I love the Tar Heels," J.R. Fortune said.
"We've got the whole mix of fans here, but today, we're all Tar Heels," said Keith Fishburne, president and CEO of Special Olympics North Carolina.
Special Olympian Jarnell Parker, from Wayne County, said that he learned "drills and positions and how to guard and everything. That's a good experience for everybody."
"I've seen my players push a wheelchair with a young lady trying to bounce the ball on the side, and it's been great. I've also seen some guys try to come in and dunk on my players," UNC Coach Roy Williams said. "I've seen it from all levels, and I think they all enjoy it."
Williams has worked to make the UNC Special Olympics Hoops Clinic, in its 10th year, a UNC tradition.
"What our athletes get out of this is some basketball skills training but also that opportunity to interact with collegiate athletes like the caliber that UNC has," Fishburne said. "It's really special to all our guys."