By Stephen Mayer, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
OLATHE, KS (KCTV) -
A father and family are very proud after a big game for his son. The boy may not have played much, but it wasn't the score or the winner that mattered in this game.
Last Friday, Dade Baker, flanked by his family, took the court to deafening applause. It's fitting that the team manager, and lifelong basketball fan, got his first start on senior night.
The 4'8" AP student at Olathe North High School has a form of dwarfism, but he's never let that hold him back.
"We raised him just like our other two kids. Anything is possible as long as he works hard," Dade's father, Doug Baker, said.
"It means a lot. Since I've managed high school, I've had that thought, ‘what if I could play?' Now it's here and it's unreal," Dade said.
"If you're in a position to help someone's dreams come true, why wouldn't you?" said his coach, Jeff Walton.
Walton said Dade's work ethic and devotion to the team are unmatched, and felt he earned the start.
"I'm really excited to see him come out and play with us. This is something he will remember and we will remember for the rest of our lives," teammate Kyree Henry said.
Once word got out, Henry, Dade's best friend and fellow teammate, created the Twitter handle #getdadeonsportscenter – it's gotten thousands of retweets, including from some pretty big names, like the character Barney Stinson from the CBS series How I Met Your Mother.
"It's pretty cool. I made a Twitter because I heard about what people were putting on there, just to see it. I got on there and my name was everywhere, so it was really cool to see," Dade said. "I've checked Twitter quite a bit today."
So after the shootaround and one last pep talk, Dade and his fellow starters took the court. Walton drew up a special play to start the game with Dade coming off a double screen and launching a 3-pointer.
Unfortunately, the shot was in and out – Dade said the wind got it. He never got back in the game, but said at halftime it was a night he'll never forget.
Even though he didn't score, the crowd stormed the court after the Olathe North Eagles won 42-38, hoisting Dade atop their shoulders.
Dade's mom said he hasn't made it to SportsCenter yet, but she want people to keep pushing the Twitter hashtag.
Dade plans to attend MidAmerica Nazarene University next year where he'll be managing the basketball team there as well.
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