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Special needs student gets playing time thanks to friend’s Twitter campaign, and makes the most of it (video)

Feb 15, 2013, 10:05 AM EDT


“And so shines a good deed in a weary world,” said one Mr. Willy Wonka. This comes to mind because of the Twitter campaign started by Owasso High School (OK) point guard Jaylen Lowe, who was trying to get team manager Nathan Mitcham into a game as a player. Mitcham, a senior, is a special needs student who loves basketball, but had never participated in a real game.

After Lowe sent his tweet, a grassroots Twitter campaign arose, powered by the hashtag #dressNathanout. The community got involved, local merchants produced #dressNathanout T-shirts. Celebrities got imvolved, among them Carrie Underwood and Oprah Winfrey. The movement was unstoppable, and finally it was announced that Mitcham would get to play. Of course you can guess how that went.

Nathan Mitcham, the special needs senior at Owasso High School, the team manager who got the blessing of his coach and the backing of thousands of Twitter denizens last week with the hashtag #dressNathanout, stepped into Oklahoma high school basketball lore when he scored eight points in the final 3:23 of the Rams’ 75-55 victory over Sand Springs.

“When that first shot went through, I thought I was gonna need a box of Kleenexes,” said Owasso coach Mark Vancuren. “It was just an unbelievable amount of emotion that overcame me.”

Mitcham’s point total included a pair of 3-pointers. The Owasso gym has a capacity of 1,400, but more than 2,000 people showed up to the game — the Tulsa World reports that the place was packed shoulder to shoulder for the junior varsity girls game, which occurred four hours before the boys varsity contest.

  1. cbking05 - Feb 15, 2013 at 5:06 PM

    Thumbs up for the entire team … may good Karma carry that PG who started the campaign.

  2. tyler4richardson - Feb 15, 2013 at 8:36 PM

    The collective energy and excitement from his teammates is a nice reminder why I like team sports so much. It’s about the guy next to you as much or more than it is about you.