It’s been a few short months since Kevin Grow made four of the biggest 3-pointers in high school basketball history. In that short time, those points have been seen around the world.
A multi-sport student-athlete with Down syndrome, Grow, who attends Bensalem High School, became an internet celebrity early in 2014. After serving for four years as manager for the Bensalem basketball team, his coach put him into the team’s last game of the season. He made a lay-up when he first entered the game, and then something even more amazing happened.
In front of a video camera recording it all, Grow drained four 3-pointers from the top of the key. His baskets sent the crowd into a craze, and later brought the internet world to a sharing, tweeting and commenting machine.
His story, along with his addicting smile and personality, went viral.
In less than two months, the video picked up 1.2 million views on YouTube. Grow’s story was shared on SportsCenter, and he even signed special contracts with the Philadelphia 76ers and the Harlem Globetrotters. He had interviews on news stations, for newspapers, and every form of media in between.
“It’s been crazy,” Kevin’s mom, Dorothy, said with a smile. “We can barely go into a restaurant in Bensalem anymore,” added his father, Earl.
To many on the outside, Kevin Grow is simply a YouTube sensation. To those who truly follow his story, he’s so much more. One day at a time, one YouTube view at a time, Grow is inspiring change. By competing in a number of sports, including basketball, tennis, track and field and swimming, he’s showing what sports mean to all individuals, regardless of age, gender, disability, or anything else that appears to be a difference.
Without even knowing it, the guy they call KG3 is helping others every day.
“Athletics bridge the gap for everyone, whatever their differences,” Earl said. “Kevin is just one person and just one example of that.
We’ve been very fortunate in his exposure and the opportunities he’s had, and how kind people have been to him. From that, we hope his story will inspire others to provide opportunities and acceptance for everyone.”
Grow’s involvement in sports also helped him showcase some of his other talents. He’s great with a camera in his hand, and created a number of videos and special projects for his high school football team and even a wedding, mixing still shots with music and other features. This summer during the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games in New Jersey, he plans on creating and editing his own video reports.
“You wouldn’t believe the things he can do with a camera and a computer,” Dorothy said.
“His vision and perspective are unbelievable.”
A fan of all sports, Grow picked up tennis after his involvement in the Special Olympics began nearly 10 years ago. As a Special Olympics Pennsylvania competitor, he began practicing in a number of sports, including tennis, but currently focuses on competition in track and field.
His reason for being so involved?
“It’s fun,” he said with a grin. Grow recently picked tennis back up as one of his practice sports for the State Games. As he does in most sports, he fits right in.
“Kevin excels in one-on-one sports,” Dorothy said. “In competition settings, he gets it.”
Grow will compete in the Pennsylvania Special Olympics this summer, and will continue to be a model for opportunity involving individuals with special needs.
“We hope someone reads about or watches Kevin, and has to stop and think twice about his situation or someone else’s situation,” Earl said. “This has been great, but it’s just the beginning of what his impact can be.”