The above video comes from CBS Los Angeles and is one of the best stories you'll see from the field of announcing. Jamaal Street is a 33 year old play by play man for San Pedro High School in California. He's also autistic. Street was inspired by the great Lakers announcer Chick Hearn and has established a career doing what he loves.
In 1996, while a junior at San Pedro High, Street got his first break when he was named the school’s public address announcer. And by 2001, his dream job became a reality when he was hired to do his first play-by-play game for Cox Cable.
“I felt it was an uplifting experience for me because I got to do it where finally people would be watching it on TV. Even though it was just for the local community, I felt it was like being in Hollywood,” Street said.
Cox Cable producer Carlos Rivera said Street’s memory is part of what makes him an exceptional sports announcer.
“[Street] has a natural ability to remember stats, names and can, actually, probably tell you half the scores from that first game, what school they went to and what they are doing now. I couldn’t remember what I had for dinner last night,” Rivera said.
Street's story isn't one you see every day. Hopefully he has continued success in San Pedro and his hard work inspires other aspiring announcers around the country.
Autism is NOT a disease and Jamaal will probably not outlive thedisability until a cure has been found. In an effort to clarify his story, he Has beat the odds by LIVING with this syndrome one day at a time. As his mother, I need people to know that children/adults with disabilities should be given the chance to explore things that THEY like. I was blessed to recognize Jamaal's gifts while he was young and focused on giving him EVERY opportunity made available to me, to see that he could excel at what I saw he was good at doing. Everybody can do something! Children/adults with special needs need positive encouragement in order to feel they CAN do something. Our expectations sometimes place limits on their capabilities. In my home we don't say "I can't", I encourage, "you can try!" Little to us means alot to them. Jamaal is a wonderful young man whom I am proud to say I'm his mom! FYI: overcoming autism was their words, not mine.