My dream is to play basketball with the Charlotte Hornets in the Hive!
Brandon is a bright and talkative 20-year-old from Matthews, NC. After meeting Brandon, we learned very quickly this young man is full of life who absolutely loves sports (including karate and ballroom dancing)! We asked Brandon if he had to pick just one sport which is his favorite and he didn’t hesitate, basketball won hands-down. In fact, Brandon spends a good bit of his time playing basketball. His personal favorite? Shooting three-pointers and rebounding! Brandon believes his love for the game of basketball is a gift from God and that He has placed a fire in his heart for the game. This sport has also created a special bond between Brandon and his dad, they enjoy playing and watching sports together all the time, especially basketball.
Brandon lives with autism, ADHD, and sensory integration disorder. He has overcome several academic and social delays due to the autism, however, despite those challenges Brandon is strong, confident and very social. Brandon has a great support team including his Community Guide at INREACH and his parents – they push him to succeed and motivate him to the next level. Their help combined with his great work ethic have helped him stay on track with his education.
Brandon graduated from Providence High School last year and is now taking classes at Central Piedmont Community College, all while maintaining a job at a local grocery store. Brandon is an only child so he loves being around people of all ages. He has always wanted a younger sibling, in fact, at our first meeting with Brandon our Executive Director, Elizabeth Lindsey brought along her daughter and Brandon thought she was so great that he “adopted” her as his kid sister!
The Dream Experience
October 10, 2016: It’s just another day at the YMCA, or so Brandon thinks. Brandon and his dad are shooting hoops when the doors burst open, whistles are blowing, cameras are rolling and Dream Leader, James Metsger, walks in wearing a what he thinks is gear appropriate for basketball (check out the photo album to see what we mean).
James takes a few minutes to explain to Brandon that today is Dream Day and there are a lot of surprises in store! Brandon got so excited about the custom Hornets jersey we gave him that he left a gym full of people so he could run and change into his new gear. We did eventually get Brandon back into the gym where we heard from Curtis Overcash from InReach NC, an organization that provides support for people with intellectual, developmental and other disabilities and their families. Brandon was referred to DO3 by InReach so it was great to have their team as part of his VIP Send-off.
Hornets training camp coach and friend to the Shannon Family, Chad Hunt, came out to make sure that Brandon was warmed-up for his big day! After a few drills, one very winded and excited Brandon climbed into his limousine to start a day he will remember forever. The Shannon family received a warm welcome from the staff at Le Meridian Charlotte along with a beautiful suite filled with gifts to make Brandon feel extra special. The family enjoyed a delicious lunch provided by Enso Asian Bistro and Sushi Bar and then made their way to the Spectrum Center for a behind-the-scenes tour of the Hive!
The Hornets rolled out the red carpet for Brandon, providing swag bags for him, his family and the Dream Team too! Their guide, Kristen Cella, made sure that they made it to team warm ups, visited the Founder’s Level, dinner at the Crown Club and finally a meet and greet with Brandon’s sports hero, Frank Kaminsky. Kaminsky signed some gear and even gave Brandon a signed shoe, something he will definitely treasure!
Brandon’s Dream was to play with the Hornets so imagine his surprise when he was introduced to GM, Rich Cho, and presented with a one-day contract to play for the Charlotte Hornets! With a handshake to seal the deal, Brandon made his way to the court. Brandon took his job very seriously and remained a focused and committed player. He stood side-by-side with the athletes he normally only sees on TV and played the sport he loves the most. It was truly a dream come true! Brandon wrapped up his big day by enjoying a game win against the Minnesota Timberwolves!