CLEVELAND — We first introduced you to 10-year-old Ryan Rasul back in January. He's the local fifth grader who started the youth basketball program, Little Hands, with his dad Harold.
The goal is to empower the young players and inspire them -- something he's been doing in the community for years. That might be because Ryan is also a brain cancer survivor.
"Not one, not two, but he had three brain surgeries," Ryan's dad, Harold, said.
His resilience and perseverance are motivating the kids to keep going, no matter the challenges... a true playmaker in their lives.
That kind of community effort goes a long way for the Cavs. In fact, it's a slam dunk.
So, a few weeks ago, during a game, the team honored Ryan by making him the Jif DIFF maker of the game. It's only given out to people making a huge difference in the community. Ryan is the youngest person to have ever received it.
The night Ryan was honored, he stepped on the court to be announced. When the crowd heard all that he'd been doing, it went wild.
After he walked off the court, we wanted to ask him what the moment meant to him. But, Cavs' Donovan Mitchell got the jump on us.
The superstar player reached his hand out so Ryan could give him a shake.
It's fair to say, we all wanted to show Ryan some love.
Of being honored, Ryan said this:
"It was really heartwarming because I always dreamed of being on an NBA court and it was really fun."
Dad was standing nearby. It was a bit more emotional for him.
"There are really no words. Because we were there in the beginning, we went through all the pain, and now just to see him get acknowledged, it's unbelievable," Harold said.
Yet, even in his glory, Ryan was still thinking of others.
"I hope other kids use basketball as positivity to get way from all the negative things, and use that positivity to inspire other people," Ryan said.
The Cavs still had one more surprise for Ryan. A
"We've heard, there was a little rumor, that you may have given some of your old shoes to some kids that didn't have basketball shoes. So, we talked to some of our friends, and we are so excited to present you with these Donovan Mitchell shoes," said Pam Frasco, Vice President of community relations for the Cavs.
In response, Ryan said, "Oh my God! That is amazing."
It's the wine and gold honoring the kid with the heart of gold. Sounds like the perfect team.
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