The story of a north Edmonton community joining forces to gift a young basketball player a net spread far and wide Wednesday.
It even caught the attention of the king himself.
LeBron James cheered on the neighbours and 14-year-old Anthony Muobike, sharing his story on Instagram.
“LeBron’s my inspiration, that’s him right there,” Anthony said.
“LeBron is the main reason why I started playing basketball.”
A neighbour noticed Anthony was spending hours every day dribbling a ball on his driveway, but he didn’t have a net.
Ian Ray was impressed by the teen’s basketball skills and put out a call for help on Facebook.
Offers came in from several community members who wanted to donate their used nets, but the post garnered so much attention, the area Canadian Tire swooshed in and donated a brand new net.
On Monday night, Ray showed up on Anthony’s doorstep with the net, a new basketball and a gift card.
The whole endeavour has seemingly tugged at the heartstrings of many.
Rock stars and sports journalists have shared the story, leading to millions of shares and video views.
It also caught the attention of the Royal Crown Academic School in Toronto, which has invited Anthony to participate in its elite basketball program and wants to offer him support to do so.
“That’s amazing. That’s beyond my wildest dreams.
“I’m just being recruited here! They offered me something, which is not something I usually get,” Anthony said.
The school’s manager of student recruitment said the basketball program’s first alumni, Josh Primo, was just drafted 12th overall in the 2021 NBA draft.
“It’s a lot to take in,” Anthony’s mom Leticia Moubike said.
“My heart is full of joy. I’m overwhelmed… all I can say is thank you so much. Thank you north Edmonton, thank you Canadian Tire, thank you to Mr. Ray and his family.”
The Moubike family only moved into the neighbourhood last year, and Leticia said she’s grateful for the sense of community. The reaction to Anthony and Ray’s story has blown them away.
“The messages I saw, the love, the support, I’m so proud to live in this community,” Leticia said.
“We saw LeBron James post earlier. I was speechless,” she said. “I was shaking. I was in shock. I told my son, he was crying.”
“I’m really humbled and I’m really grateful,” Anthony said.
They both feel this experience came at a time when a lot of people need a bit of positive news.
“We’ve all been through some hard times and people need something to be happy about, to uplift them,” Anthony said.
“I know people are still struggling,” Leticia added.
“Seeing this kind of love… melts my heart because I know things are hard and things are tough right now for many families.”
Anthony and his family have been invited to attend Friday’s Edmonton Stingers semi-final game.
He’s excited because he’s yet to witness elite players do their thing in person.
Still, the 14 year old can’t help but feel a little pressure.
“I’ve been practicing non-stop, just in case.”