Hansel Enmanuel Donato Domínguez is extraordinary. He throws the ball with one hand, his right, dribbles, and holds the ball to rise and execute a dunk in the face of his defender. With power, with authority, this 17-year-old Dominican boy dreams of one day being able to play in the NBA and become the first to do so with one arm. A young Afro-Latin worthy of note during Black History Month.
Yes, Hansel is missing a limb, but he has plenty of heart. He was born in Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic and lived in La Mina, one of its poorest neighborhoods. His biggest dream was to become a baseball player and maybe one day play in the Major Leagues, following in the footsteps of other great players from his country such as Pedro Martínez, Juan Marichal, Albert Pujols, Robinson Canó, Adrián Beltré, Sammy Sosa or David Ortiz, but tragedy changed his plans.
When he was only six years old, he climbed a wall of cinder blocks and when he was about to reach the top, that wall collapsed under his feet, he slipped and one of those blocks fell on his left arm. Despite the efforts of his father and rescuers, it was impossible to save his arm and medical specialists agreed that the only option was to amputate it a little above the elbow.
His father, Hansel Salvador Donato, was a professional basketball player and was nicknamed ‘Kikima’. Hansel decided to continue his dad’s legacy and has a message for all those who want to see him succeed:
“I don’t want to be seen as a special child who has a disability. I just want to be seen as a great player who is going to go far like many. That I’m a good player,” said the basketball player from Life Christian Academy High School Lions team in Kissimmee, Florida.
On December 19, the Dominican Enmanuel again shook social networks and high school basketball by conquering the City of Palms Classic dunk contest. He simply amazed with his skill and creativity when attacking the hoop.
Tennessee State wants him in their ranks
His competitive spirit and strength are a source of inspiration for many other teenagers. Upon learning about his story and watching his videos in the Dominican Republic, Life Christian Academy basketball coach in Florida, Moises Micael, decided to offer him a scholarship starting in January 2021.
At 6’5” with great jumping ability and skills despite only having one arm, Hansel immediately became the star of the Lions by averaging 26 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists per game. He admires LeBron James, and styles his game after that of Kevin Durant.
His performances have already caught the attention of several universities, including Tennessee State, which has already made him an offer to join the Tigers.
He is certainly a young man to look out for.