TOP PHOTO: LaFollette Middle School Owls and honorary Owl for a night Jaden Wright, Number 55, in a team shot after Tuesday’s game.

Jaden Wright held court on Tuesday night as he scored his first ever basket as an honorary member of the LaFollette Owl Basketball Team for the night. LaFollette Middle School Teaching Assistant Brandee Snow, left, sixth grader Jaden Wright and LaFollette Middle School Teaching Assistant (correction) Sarah Moses after Tuesday’s game.

By Charlotte Underwood 

LAFOLLETTE, TN (WLAF) – Tuesday night’s basketball game between the LaFollette Owls and the Lake City Lakers was a dream come true for two students. For LaFollette sixth grader Jaden Wright and Lake City’s Dylan Willis, “basketball is their life.” According to each of the boy’s coaches, both Jaden and Dylan “are obsessed with basketball.”

Jaden Wright was in his element on Tuesday night at LaFollette Middle School.

Jaden Wright would always talk about basketball at school, which is what gave his Living Skills teacher Sarah Moses and teaching assistant Brandee Snow the idea for Jaden to play in a school basketball game. A couple months ago, the two teachers approached LaFollette Middle School Basketball Coach Ken Weaver with the idea and he was “immediately on board.”

“I would see Jaden around school and interact with him, and he just loves basketball. So we got him a jersey to play in the game and he was over the moon,” Weaver said. 

According to Snow, “every year Coach Weaver tries to get the CDC kids involved as much as possible. Jaden was a perfect fit,” Snow said.

It was a magical night for sixth grader Jaden Wright, Number 55, as he scored a two point shot for the LaFollette Owls. Playing basketball is an obsession for the Living Skills student.

“Jaden talks about basketball all the time in class. He has been so excited for a couple months about the possibility of playing with the team; the team was so excited and beyond welcoming of Jaden,” Snow said.

Coach Weaver reached out to Lake City Middle School Coach Brad Bullock and asked if it was something he and his team could help with. 

Coach Bullock was immediately on board as well as he had already had a Lake City Middle School student who also loved basketball and was in Living skills class play in a game against LaFollette previously. 

It was quite natural as Jaden Wright took to King Court like a duck to a pond.

“It’s all about the kids and helping them, ” Coach Bullock said. 

Seventh grader Dylan Willis “loves basketball” and according to Coach Bullock, “walks into the gym each day with the biggest smile on his face that anyone could ask for.”

According to Bullock, Tuesday’s game was a great reminder to “appreciate and be thankful for even the small things.”

Coaching staff, players and fans from both schools were all part of Tuesday’s magic which will “forever remembered by all”, according to Coach Weaver. 

“We put Jaden in the game at the start of the 4th quarter. Our guys and Lake City’s guys just stayed back so he could get the ball. Then our guys rebounded to him till he scored and it was just a great night. Our guys, their team, the fans from both sides, the whole gym just went ecstatic,” Weaver said. 

He said it was very “humbling for him and his team.”

Jaden Wright suited up in the Orange-n-White on his special night, January 3, 2023.

According to Coach Weaver, his varsity team this year is all eighth graders and it was a “wonderful and humbling experience for the team to get to play with Jaden.” 

“The guys took to him like he had been part of the team all along. They treated him like a teammate and hugged him and cheered him on.  I believe it taught them a lot; to be thankful and supportive,” Weaver said.  

“It was a great moment for both teams; life skills and life lessons,” Coach Bullock said. 

“LaFollette Middle School is so proud of not just Jaden and the basketball team but also the entire student section for their love and support for Jaden,” Snow said.

LaFollette Middle School Principal Sandi Wilson said she couldn’t be more proud of her school and the lesson that was taught to all.

“Last night we didn’t just celebrate a win for LMS, but we celebrated what truly means the most: kindness and love. That is what Jaden Wright taught, not just his teammates, but an entire gym full of students, faculty, and community members with his 2 point shot.” (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 01/06/2023-6AM)

2 Replies to “Jaden brings the “Wright” stuff to King Court-Irwin Gym”

  1. That was so sweet of the other team. Good sportsmanship guys. So proud of this young man.

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