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Sunday, June 23, 2024

Jaden James: Overcoming with a Joyful Spirit


Recently, a small town boy received big-time attention after his famous three point basketball shot dubbed, “Jaden’s Shot,” went viral. That video caught the attention of the famed Globetrotters, who were scheduled to appear in Tulsa, OK. The team extended Hackett student, Jaden James, an invitation to that event, where he once again made his signature sinker.

While James is famous for his dunking skills, basketball is just a small part of who he is.

James, 15, is the son of Brandon and Wendy James. His older siblings are Tyler and Brennan (Bubba) James. He’s also a sophomore student at Hackett High School.


His mom Wendy said, “Jaden’s passions for life go outside of ball.  Ball is an important part, but more importantly is his joy of life in general…He truly enjoys going out and participating in sports…He loves to shoot, probably in part of the amazing aids he has had the entire time he has been in school…The gym has allowed him to continue to do what he loves, but it has also been a way that he can socialize with other students.”

James has overcome his share of obstacles, undergoing intensive therapy since he was nine months old. According to his mom, he has had therapy at Kisler Center in Fort Smith, BOST, home and school based therapies.

“When the original diagnosis of autism was handed to us at 18 months old, so were the ‘nevers’ that he wouldn’t be able to do.  He would never walk, talk, potty train, feed himself, the list goes on and on…There are no words that describe that feeling when you are told that your child has autism.  You feel that your child’s childhood is gone.  There is a time of feeling sorry for yourself, then you pick yourself up and put on your big boy shorts and take the bull by the horns.  That is what we have tried to do everyday in everyway. 

His parents recognize that having a sibling with a disability can be difficult on the family. But his mom says that James’ siblings have never seen him as different and that they’ve always involved him.

I have always said, ‘I am so honored that God chose me to be his mommy and that God trusted me because He knew I could give Jaden exactly what he would always need.’ 

Prior to his autism diagnosis, James was experiencing seizures.  He’s been treated for years with medication and has been seizure free since 2013. 


His mother said this is where his love of sports was born. “Whatever the older two were doing, he was a major part of it.  With a lot of perseverance and determination of his family, teachers, aids, and therapist we have overcome many of the obstacles that could have stood in his way.”

His parents have never allowed his diagnosis to define their life. “We have taken him everywhere ball has taken us following his brothers.  He has had the opportunity to participate in the Special Olympics for years.  This is the one time of year that it is all about him. We all partake in the day.  He would of course rather socialize, but it is an amazing day, and it’s his day.  We have been so blessed to attend school districts that embrace the Special Olympics and this year has been no different.  Hackett Special Olympics has taken him to golf, basketball, flag football, and in April the spring games.  We love allowing him to participate and we are there in the stands as his biggest fans.”


In addition to sports, James enjoys watching Dora and Blue’s Clues, going to school and church. His mom admits he enjoys the same things all typical teens do, a phone, tablet and tv.

James’ overcoming and joyful attitude is contagious, and as his mother said, we could learn a lot from him. Often times she sits back and reflects on what a wonderful world it would be if everyone saw others the way James sees them.  “He never meets a stranger and everyone is someone special to him.  He brings joy wherever he goes and leaves an impression on everyone he meets.”  She recalled one distinct memory of him as a baby. “We were in Little Rock for a biopsy on his legs, and we were eating. An older woman had been watching us for some time, and when she got ready to leave she came over and told me that she ‘sees Jesus in his eyes.’  Wow, what a compliment and testimony of Jaden’s view on life. This is how everyone should look at people. He is a trooper for sure.”

No doubt he’s an overcomer, and he’s kept an amazing and joyful spirit through it all. His mom and dad admit that they have become better parents for having had a child with disabilities.

“We don’t know what the future looks like for Jaden, but one thing is for sure, he will always have his mom, dad, his Tyler, and Bubba to continue to provide him whatever he needs,”

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Tammy Teague
Tammy Teague
Tammy is the heart behind the brand. Her tenacity to curate authentic journalism, supported by a genuine heart is one her many wholesome qualities.
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