THE MOST exciting
player in basketball is a 6'10" high school junior named Kevin Laue, which
rhymes with wow, as in, "Wow, I can't believe he just did that." What
he does is a little of everything. The one knock against him: no left hand. And
it's true. Kevin was born with no arm below his left elbow.
Teammates call him
Laue Ming. "His nickname should be Twice Amazing," says Rob Collins,
Kevin's coach at Amador Valley High in Pleasanton, Calif., "because he's
twice as amazing as anyone I've ever seen."
When Kevin was
born, his umbilical cord was wrapped twice around his neck like a noose.
"Just let him breathe," prayed his mother, Jodi, "and I'll accept
anything else." In that instant, Kevin cried.
So Jodi and Wayne
Laue accepted that their son might never cut his own meat or tie his own shoes
or play anything but soccer. But Kevin didn't like soccer. When he complained
that he couldn't pop a wheelie on his bike, Jodi bought him a prosthetic arm.
But he never used it.
So the Laues went
the other way, refusing to buy Velcro-fastened shoes, allowing Kevin to drop
soccer for football and letting their hearts break a little when a
fourth-grader taunted him as "One-Armed Jack."
Adults could be
worse, always mindful to say, "You have beautiful red hair," before
following up with, "What happened to your arm?"
"Tell them a
shark bit it off," Jodi suggested, and Kevin has done just that ever since.
"It's always the same story," he says. " Big Island, bull shark,
eight-year-old vacationing in Hawaii, Kevin thought it would be funny to
stagger out of the surf with ketchup covering "the Nub," as he calls
the arm. His parents said no, but his sense of humor remains disarming,
sometimes literally so.
developed that," says Jodi, "everything changed."
In sixth grade
Kevin announced that he wanted to play basketball, which Jodi says he had
avoided because of the uniform. "He couldn't hide it like he could in
football," she says.