WATCH: Heart Warming Play Brings Crowd To Their Feet

Boys basketball team rallies around special needs teammate who scores basket at the buzzer.

With only seconds left on the clock, seventh grade student, Nick Grippo completes the shot that would make any parent proud, he sinks a basket at the buzzer and drives the crowd to its feet. For parent Denise Grippo, the play was more than she could have ever hoped for; her son Nick is autistic.

Nick is part of the William T. Rogers Middle School boys basketball team. He had expressed interest earlier in the year about playing and Todd White a special education teacher and coach for the school, along with Nick’s classroom teacher, approached Denise about letting Nick play.

“He’s having the time of his life, he’s part of a team. Everybody knows his name and for a child with autism, that’s really great,” said Denise.

The play that brought the crowd to their feet was captured by a teammate on a cell phone, as was the cameraman’s utter elation as he cheered and dropped the phone.

The coach had designed a play called the “Nick play”, said Jennifer Greco, a paraprofessional who assists Nick on the team.

“The boys, standing on the side do an inbound pass to one of the boys, Nick runs around another player and they pass to Nick,” said Greco whose cell camera was used to capture the moment.

It was the first time they had ever done the play during a game.

“They start setting the play up and the crowd starts chanting his name, then the cheerleaders chant his name,” said Greco. “They pass it to Nick, he shoots and scores and the crowd goes wild. After each win, Nick does the Conga line into the locker room. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.”

It was something out of a movie, said his mom Denise.

“The boys, I can’t say enough about them,” she said. “Just awesome. They’ve taken him under their wing and made him part of the team. The parents should be so proud they have raised such wonderful, wonderful boys.”

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Kathleen January 16, 2013 at 10:47 PM
Way to go Nick! The Grippos are a wonderful family who have worked very hard to get their son where he is today; I'm so glad they were able to experience this amazing moment. It gives me great hope to see the community welcoming and embracing our children with special needs. Given the opportunity and the proper support there's no limit to what our kids can do!
Rebecca Polimeni January 17, 2013 at 04:55 AM
You are a rockstar Nick! Wish I could have been there to see it. Denise and Jay you must be so proud! It is so wonderful to see how much joy and success can come from supportive peers, a loving community and dedicated parents. Thank you Kings Park for paving the road to a brighter future for students with special needs!
carrie January 17, 2013 at 02:48 PM
As a mom of a son with Autism, I just cry to read this! I wish someone had also had a camera on Nicks moms face when he scored the basket! I can only imagine! Way to go Nick and the entire team! You give us all such hope! Hope for our children and hope in humanity. I'm so proud!
veronica January 17, 2013 at 06:25 PM
Wow; I'm impressed; wish nick lots of success; this definitely sets an example to all the special nds kids! They all have a gift, let's give everyone an opportunity.
Team Dawg January 18, 2013 at 11:31 PM
There are really no words for the pride and admiration that we feel for everyone involved...The power of compassion....the power of caring..the power of teamwork....Everyday Heroes one and all!...Nice shot Nick! Thank you to everyone from Team Dawg!


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