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L.A. basketball player with congenital limb difference nominated for prestigious national award

L.A. basketball player with congenital limb difference nominated for prestigious national award

Aidan Goldstein is a competitor.

As a senior at WISH Academy High School in the Los Angeles South Bay, Goldstein has never let any challenges stop him from pursuing his passions.

Aidan is active in his community and plays for his school's varsity basketball team, which is impressive in and of itself, but he's managed to do all that while overcoming major physical obstacles.

He was born with a congenital limb difference that affected his left arm, leaving him with only a fully developed right hand in a sport that demands constant redirection, change of pace and instant adaptability to a range of circumstances.

Despite the challenges, he's managed to carve out a role in his team through hard work and dedication — and now he's getting recognized for it.

Aidan is one of ten high school students in the nation to be nominated for an award that recognizes perseverance and tenacity: the Jersey Mike’s Naismith Courage Award.

Named for James Naismith, the man credited with inventing the sport Adian and millions of others love, the Naismith Awards are considered to be the most prestigious basketball honors given out to high school and college players and coaches.

The Men's College Player of the Year Award has been given to countless NBA stars, including New York Knicks All-Star Jalen Brunson, New Orleans Pelicans phenom Zion Williamson and future Hall-of-Famers Kevin Durant and Anthony Davis. Iowa's Caitlin Clark, one of the biggest draws in the entire sport, won the honor in the women's category last year.

Former Boy's High School Player of the Year winners include eventual NBA lottery picks Chet Holmgren, Cade Cunningham, R.J. Barrett and Southern California's own Lonzo Ball. USC star and L.A. native Juju Watkins won the girl's award in 2023.

The Courage Award is given out to the high school player who has "consistently gone above and beyond throughout the basketball season and has demonstrated courage in their approach to the team, the school, the game and their community."

Eric Oberman, the head of the Atlanta Tipoff Club, which administers the Naismith Awards, said it's a "joy" to recognize Aidan as one of the top finalists for the Courage Award.

"He truly represents what this honor is all about," Oberman said.

The Atlanta Tipoff Club said Aidan's dedication and work ethic not only raised his own game, but also "inspired his peers, promoting inclusivity and diversity within his team." The organization said his journey reflects his "unparalleled determination to overcome physical challenges" and his powerful impact both on the court and off it.

Award winners will be announced on March 6.

The boys and girls Courage Award winners will receive $2,000 for themselves and their schools will receive a $2,000 donation in their honors courtesy of Jersey Mike's.

“All of us at Jersey Mike’s applaud these 10 courageous student-athletes,” said Rich Hope, Chief Marketing Officer of Jersey Mike’s. “Their fortitude and their communities’ support are a testament to the power of perseverance."

For more information about the Jersey Mike's Naismith Courage Award, click here. To view recent winners of all the Naismith Awards, click here.