Lakeridge basketball team manager, cancer survivor gets his shot - KPTV - FOX 12

Lakeridge basketball team manager, cancer survivor gets his shot in the spotlight

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"Worldwide" Jimmy Li (KPTV) "Worldwide" Jimmy Li (KPTV)
LAKE OSWEGO, OR (KPTV) -

What do you do when you can't play the sport you love but still want to be involved with the team? If you're Lakeridge High School senior Jimmy Li, you accept the role of team manager.

Li isn't just the manager for the varsity boys basketball team, the brain cancer survivor is pacing the Pacers after having hoops ripped from his life but not from his heart.

At Lakeridge High School, Li is a big deal.

"Considering just how big Jimmy is, his nickname is "Worldwide" because he just knows everyone in the state," said senior Mitch Rose.

"Yeah, yeah. He's big time. He's the best manager in Oregon so we believe that and he certainly proves that. That's not something we gave him. He earned that title," said head coach Fred Gold. "I tell everybody that Jimmy is either going to be a sports agent or a politician."

"Worldwide" Jimmy has a custom greeting for every player on the roster.

"I remember 14 different handshakes," said Li.

Li does a lot as team manager. Most importantly he does his homework - advance scouting every team the Pacers play. Hoping to spin his manager and scouting roles into a future NBA gig, Li got to be just one of the guys on Tuesday.

"That shocked me. It blew my mind that he planned to suit me up," Li said.

Not only suiting up but starting on Senior Night against Canby.

"It's the biggest adrenaline rush I've ever experienced in my life," said Li.

Li notched the lone points of his high school career on the opening possession.

"I was just happy for him because that is every kids dream. To hit the shot and hear people screaming you name," said junior Immanuel Allen.

"The whole school cheering for me? I've never had that type of feeling before," said Li.

A real "freeze time" moment, the first time Li had laced up his Nike's in a game since he was 12.

"They told me, 'you have cancer and we don't think you'll ever be able to play again.' That devastated me because basketball is my life, prior to that," Li said.

Fighting and defeating brain cancer where doctors thought he may never walk again, let alone hoop it up again.

"Doctors pulled my dad out of the office and my dad was tearing up, he said, 'you have cancer' and I was like, 'no I don't,'" said Li.

Emergency surgery to remove a tumor was followed by seven draining months of radiation and chemotherapy.

"Chemo was the hardest thing I have ever experienced," said Li. "I couldn't eat. Didn't really have a social life. Couldn't go to school. Lost a lot of friends, lost a lot of weight. It was not fun."

Now, he's back to his feet, back in the game and beloved by many. The hashtag "#GetJimmyOnSportsCenter" was trending on Twitter after the game.

"One of my teammates said you should do the hashtag "#GetJimmyOnSportsCenter" and I'm like, why not? It's a long shot but you never know without trying," said Li.

Trying got "Worldwide" to the "Worldwide leader."

"That same night, I put my phone in another room when I went to bed because it just kept blowing up," Li said.

Li got on ESPN's Thursday morning edition of SportsCenter. Just another court vision that came to fruition for "Worldwide" Jimmy Li.

Li spent his freshman year as team manager at Lake Oswego before transferring to Lakeridge. The Pacers begin OSAA 6A playoff competition Tuesday night at Jesuit High School.

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