"The only time I ever think about is whenever the year anniversary is coming up," said McElwain or "J-Mac" at a recent Greece Athena practice.
Friday, just J-Mac's jersey is going up, retired. Next to John Wallace, who starred at Syracuse and played in the NBA.
"It's going to be one of the best moments of my life," added McElwain. "Plus, seeing some of my teammates for the first time since that year and being next to John; it's going to be an emotional night."
"He's been such a special kid and hes done so much," said Athena coach Jim Johnson. "It's a way we can give back to him."
J-Mac is a half foot taller now and an assistant coach for 6 seasons at Athena. He hopes to be one day be a college coach. For today, he just wants to be an example.
"Teaching kids not only how to play basketball, but about life and having fun with life and having enthusiasm. That's the reason why I coach," said McElwain.
Soon J-Mac's athletic accomplishments wont be limited to what has happened in this gym. The former cross country runner qualified to run in his first Boston Marathon next April.
Johnson remembers being told about J-Mac's plans. "He said 'Coach, I'm going to qualify for the Boston Marathon.' I said 'How fast do you have to run for your age?' He goes '3 hours and five minutes' and I go 'You gotta be kidding me.' Sure enough in his first race 3:01:50 and then he ran even better this year."
"It was the hardest thing I ever did. I had to basically interrupt my entire life to do that. I'm just going to give it all I have and just enjoy it. To be there is a great accomplishment," said J-Mac.
Same inspiring story, just no longer number 52.
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