rebelling against low expectations

Jonathon Montanez’s Great Assist


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Mitchell Marcus is a basketball-loving high school student with a developmental disability and a team manager for the Coronado Thunderbirds varsity basketball team. For the last game of the season, his coach let Mitchell suit up with the others. Then, with little more than a minute remaining, Mitchell was put into the game.

With their friend finally given his moment on the court, Mitchell’s teammates tried repeatedly to set him up to score, but with no success. With only seconds remaining and the ball in the hands of rival Franklin High, Mitchell’s opportunity seemed to be slipping away. No one was expecting what happened next.

Inbounding the ball for Franklin High was senior Jonathan Montanez, who yelled Mitchell’s name and tossed the ball right to him. It was a turnover — and an assist. Mitchell scored a basket at the buzzer and the crowd swarmed the court, hoisting him onto their shoulders and shouting his name.

“I was raised to treat others how you want to be treated,” Jonathon told CBS. “I just though Mitchell deserved his chance, deserved his opportunity.”

What would you have done?

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About the author

Brett Harris

is co-founder of and co-author of Do Hard Things, along with his twin brother, Alex. He is married to his best friend, Ana, who blogs at He is the founder of the Young Writers Workshop — an ongoing coaching program for serious writers.


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  • That is so amazing wow!! I have autism too! I am so greatful that the coach gave Migit a chance to play a basketball game with his peers!! he is blssed to have that! happen to him..
    God bless Migit .


  • Ok, I’m crying! I wish I had that kind of selflessness. Isn’t it kind of humiliating that a teen who is(probably) not a Christian would be willing to give up the game, when so many other Christian’s wouldn’t even consider it. I wish I could have a window into Johnathan’s mind when he passed that ball to Mitchell. Sweet story! Thanks.

  • That’s so cool that someone on the other team would do that for Mitchell. Thanks for the post. It made me smile.

  • It brought tears to my eyes. Why is that? Does God really care about sports? I think with stories like this you can tell he cares for those who are playing the sport, not the sport itself. There was a similar story about a boy with autism called J-Mac who suited up for one of the last games for his team only he hit shot after shot after shot. I love how God can even use a game to show us how He cares for us and that everyone, EVERYONE, has a purpose in this life. Even when society doesn’t see value, God DOES and always WILL! I love these kinds of sports stories!
    We had a similar story with my 8 year-old son’s basket ball game. There was a kid on the other team who I could tell had some development issues. Towards the end of the game he had the ball on his end of the court and took about 10 steps without dribbling and threw up a shot which went in. No call for traveling which the ref let go. Everyone cheered for both teams in the stands. Oh, by the way, we lost by two points. I however think that no one lost that day.

  • I like what the guy said at the end, that when a game is played with THAT amount of sportsmanship, both teams win. When Jonathan passed the ball to Mitchell, you could HEAR the protests of his team and the audience. Chances are that wasn’t a popular choice he made with everyone, but even though his team had fewer points, I think it’s fair to say that they also won thanks to that one kid’s selflessness. Way cool.

  • It amazing how often God works through the people you are least expecting, and how many opporunities he gives us to do the right thing. If we look for them.
    Thanks for sharing this story, it is so refreshing to hear about something positive for a change.

  • That is incredible! I showed my mom and we were both crying. I can honestly say I have never seen that in a game. I wish I could do it. It’s amazing to see!

  • I just want to add to my comment.
    Everyone, including myself, seems so shocked at this act of kindness. We all wish we could do it. I think we need to stop being amazed and do. That was a simple thing that Jonathon did. We all could do it. I pray that we will stop wishing and start doing. Maybe we can challenge ourselves for this upcoming week. Do one random act of kindness that is going to wow everyone else, just like what Jonathon did. I’ve tried it and everyone is always amazed but its so simple to do. Even writing a note of encouragement to a younger student at school can make them smile for weeks but make you feel good too. Try it.

  • Good for Jonathan! Way to follow the golden rule!! I would have done exactly the same thing…I hope. But, wow! That’s an incredible story!

  • wow…cool…just watched the vid, which I couldn’t get on email. I don’t blame the mom for crying. Would have been doing the same thing if it were a family member of mine in Mitchell’s place. And yeah, Marc, to your comment, I totally agree. My family has always thought that too much–I”m not sure what, but just, too much–is invested in sports. This shows that God can work even through sports that people so often take too seriously. Again, I say, good for Jonathon.

  • Wow! That was beautiful I almost just started crying. The idea that this boy so easily sacrificed that ball for Mitchell was truly incredible. Thank you I needed this today.

  • That story is mind blowing. The insanity of purposely giving the ball away is just amazing. There are sofew people like Johnathan. So many people don’t even think that way. When I talk about do hard things, my friends don’t get it, at school anyway. It is hard for even some christians to understand why you would be so sacrificial. I strive to be someone like that.

  • Amazing!! I am so glad that Jonathon had such a big heart. Sometimes I wonder if I would have had the courage to do something like that in front of all my peers. thanks for sharing this.

  • Wow! That’s awesome! My brother has special needs, so I totally get the loving sacrifice Jonathon made. My friends are really kind toward him too. It melts my heart when they give him a chance to “get them” in tag. He really feels good and you can see that he feels special. That is awesome.

  • Amen! That would take some guts. I wish all of us could do that, esspecially me. I don’t know if I would’ve done it or not….

  • This is absolutly touching…this is so insane, this is the type of thing you would expect to see in a fiction book but to see people not just people but teens just like us, with enough guts to actually do this. its so inspiring

  • Hey guys I’m not quite a teen but I love do hard things.I’m writing my testimony for baptism and my message thing in it is about evolution. I need help could you give me some ideas. Email me back. Email: [email protected]

  • Hai jonathon i am a dutch guy from the netherlands and just saw what you did. i have great respect for you

By Brett Harris
rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →