A Harlem Globetrotter has visited a Northern California Catholic school to shoot hoops and commiserate with child victims of the area’s massive and deadly wildfires.
Zeus McClurkin showed the students how to duplicate the professional team’s trademark trick — spinning a basketball on a single fingertip. He also led them in exercises and demonstrated his flashy court moves.
One of his most attentive subjects was 10-year-old Lilly Biagini, the charming child who lost her prosthetic legs when her family’s home burned to the ground with all their belongings inside.
The plucky girl has dealt with adversity most of her short life. She was born with a serious joint disorder and underwent surgery to amputate both legs above the knee several years ago.
Last month, she received snowboarding lessons from Paralympic bronze medalist Keith Gabel, who worked with her on the slopes of Breckenridge, Colo.
During McClurkin’s recent visit to Lilly’s school, St. John Baptist, he talked about the kids he was visiting.
“All of them, they’re homes were actually destroyed,” he said.
Lilly’s mother, Jessica, described how her family fled their home and hoped for the best.
“I just held onto Lilly’s hand,” she said. “And we had faith and we got through it.”
Principal James Brandt said his pupils were overjoyed to see McClurkin.
“The place was electric,” he said. “The place was alive.”
Being entertained by a Harlem Globetrotter gave a much-needed, big dose of fun to children dealing with very grown-up issues, like finding a new home.
“Life throws curve balls to all of us,” he said. And Lilly has had her share. “Lilly is resilient,” her principal said. “Lilly is a strong little girl.”