First D-1 basketball player with one hand starts 70-school tour

First D-1 basketball player with one hand starts 70-school tour in West Texas

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Kevin Atlas Kevin Atlas
PLAINVIEW, Texas -

Born without his lower left arm, Kevin Atlas started his life fighting. Fighting for a dream that almost ended before it began. 

"It was a bit challenging, especially in sports. In seventh grade at 6'4, I tried out for a team and the coach pulled me to the side and cut me from the basketball team because he said basketball was a two-arm sport, try something else," Atlas said.

Fast forward five years later to 2009, and Atlas became the first division-one college basketball player with a disability, playing for Manhattan. 

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Atlas said they told him he would have been the first pick in the NBA Draft if he had two hands. Instead of focusing on what could have been, his mindset is on what others can become through telling his story. 

"By owning it, accepting it because it was my greatest weakness, changing my mindset about this being a disability and this being a weakness made this my greatest strength. And ultimately, I feel like we all have a nub in our own way, and order to embrace ourselves, we have to in order to be successful at any level," Atlas said.

As a result, Atlas started a 70-school tour, with his first stop Thursday in West Texas.

Inspired by Atlas' "Believe in U" videoseries, he said Plainview High School caught his attention after the school raised $4,000 for Javian Lawson, a freshman basketball player diagnosed with leukemia. 

"It's already hard enough to go to high school. We really need to highlight those schools that come around and love, support, and elevate each other. Plainview is one of those schools," Atlas said.

Ultimately, Atlas said his goal is to open the door for students to find their insecurities, embrace them, and be a light to others at school. 

For more on Kevin Atlas' story and his videoseries, click this link. 

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