It was more than that.
J-Mac scored a victory for all those fighting to prove having a disability does not make one disabled. His 20 points inspired a nation to have hope that autism does not mandate less than a full life.
That night was so impactful and inspirational that Athena decided no one else would be worthy to wear J-Mac's number 52 jersey.
Friday night, that jersey was retired. McElwain is only the second player to receive that honor in Athena school history. He joins John Wallace who starred at Syracuse University and played seven seasons in the NBA. He's arguably the best high school player ever to come out of Section Five.
"Really emotional, really amazing," McElwain said.
He thanked his parents, his family, his coaches, his friends, and his teammates from the 2006 team--most of which were on hand for the ceremony. Really, J-Mac thanked everyone who was in attendance both Friday night and eight years ago when he played that dramatic game.
"I wanted it to be a team moment for our 2006 team," McElwain said. "That's the way I loved it. I want to thank the Rochester community. Thanks you guys so much for all that you do."
McElwain said on more than one occasion he's honored to be up on the wall next to Wallace. He occasionally had to fight back tears. He never fought back the urge to offer a hug or shake a hand. Before speaking, J-Mac shook hands with every player on the Athena varsity team, the Athena JV team and the Fairport varsity team who would face the Trojans after his ceremony.
The night was just another example of how autism has done nothing to slow J-Mac down.
"It proves that whatever limitations in life you get, if you set goals and you have a plan you can accomplish you want in your life."
J-Mac knows what he's talking about.
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