A few months ago we told you the story of Marina, an 11-year-old who was not going to let cerebral palsy keep her off the basketball court.
Basketball is Marina’s passion, but her cerebral palsy was making it painful and difficult for her to walk, let alone run around on the court. Her parents brought her to Dr. Richard Anderson from the The Spine Hospital at the Neurological Institute of New York for a procedure called selective dorsal rhizotomy. The operation eased Marina’s pain and improved her walking. But she had to work hard in physical therapy afterward to get back on the court.
Hard work was never going to stop Marina, or even slow her down. Forget just walking better—her goal was always to improve on the basketball court. As she worked to reach that goal she took her inspiration from her basketball hero, Kobe Bryant of the LA Lakers.
“I feel like his motivation, it’s a part of me,” Marina told the blog Lakers Nation.
So as a special treat, Marina’s parents decided they’d all fly out to Los Angeles so Marina could see Bryant play before he retired. She couldn’t wait to get there.
And as it turns out, Bryant had heard about Marina, and he had much more in mind! Marina was invited courtside for the Lakers’ warm-ups, where she met Kobe Bryant himself. She was thrilled! The two of them talked about basketball, and Bryant brought Marina out onto the court to shoot some hoops with him.
“I got to meet him. I got to hug him. I got to go on the court with him. I got to hold his hand. It was awesome. I will never shower again. I’ve never experienced anything like this, ever. It’s the best day ever!”
Bryant finished the meeting by giving Marina new sneakers and a signed jersey, so she could have something to take home to treasure.
Congratulations, Marina! We’re thrilled that you’re doing so well, and we hope those Kobe Bryant sneakers will carry you over many basketball courts to come!
Read more about Marina’s story and the incredible procedure Dr. Anderson performed in our previous article, “4 Point Play Shows How Dr. Richard Anderson Gets Marina Back in the Game.”