5-year-old stars in NBA debut

A daily dose of sweetness, anyone?

JP Gibson, 5, has been battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia since 2012. On Monday, the Utah Jazz signed him to a one-day contract and invited him to suit up. He signed his contract with a crayon.

Here’s a tissue.

Gibson was an immediate fan and player favorite from the moment he stepped onto the court in his green uniform. He was given a standing ovation — from fans and players — during the introductions. He easily won the Rookie Dance-Off against Dante Exum and Rodney Hood, delighting onlookers with his moves. The small toddler then charmed the crowd while doing warm-up exercises and stretches with the Jazz.

As a grand finale, the Jazz brought Gibson out for the last play of the scrimmage. After taking the inbounds pass, Gibson brought the house down with some sweet dribbling moves to get by Dante Exum and Steve Novak. Once he made it into the lane, the spunky 5-year-old received a helpful assist from 7-foot-1 center Rudy Gobert for the best slam dunk of the night.

That late-game basket capped off a night that was perfectly orchestrated and executed by the Jazz and Millie’s Princess Foundation, which a press release noted “provides financial support and hope to families affected by childhood cancer.”

“We’ve been going through this grueling training camp, and it puts things in perspective for you,” Jazz small forward Gordon Hayward said. “To have him come out there and then for Rudy to lift him up and to dunk was pretty cool. It was a special moment for all of us.”

  • TominEagan

    Thanks, I needed that.

  • When are the NBA refs going to start calling traveling? Sheesh.

    /Thanks for the sweet video, Bob.

  • jaime

    This was amazing! He was so into being in the game, and the dance moves were amazing. I think that little guy has more chutzpah than most adults.