Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Sports

February 13, 2014

Michael Briggs, 16-year-old with Down's syndrome, inspires while playing the sports he loves for Andover High

Briggs inspires on, off court as member of JV hoops team

(Continued)

One of the guys

For Michael Briggs, playing basketball for Andover High has been a dream come true.

“I love to shoot and when I can make a swish I am really happy,” he said. “And being out there with my friends is fun.”

The team loves him right back. Why wouldn’t they? Briggs’ smile is heartwarming, his laugh and energy infectious. His joy is natural, without a hint of insincerity.

“Michael is amazing,” Hibino said. “He brings such a positive energy and enthusiasm to this team. He has a love for this game and a love for this team that is really inspiring. He is here every day, working with the kids and interacting with them.

“He loves the team and the team loves him. He perfectly represents what it means to wear an Andover basketball uniform.”

Basketball from birth

Michael Briggs was bound to fall in love with basketball.

The year he was born, his father, a lifelong basketball fan, purchased his first season tickets for the family to the Boston Celtics.

“The first year I bought them was the year Rick Pitino was hired as head coach,” said David Briggs, who played basketball at Lexington High and whose Boston Cafe & Catering worked with the Celtics for many years. “That didn’t work out, but we have had them ever since.”

By the time Michael was 3 or 4 years old, his parents started bringing him to Celtics games and he has been going ever since.

“He goes to every weekend game and we sneak him into a few weeknight games. He doesn’t miss a beat during the game. He knows all the players on every team and he does every cheer,” David Briggs said.

“His knowledge of basketball is amazing. If he isn’t playing basketball or at a basketball game, he is probably watching a game on television or playing basketball on X-Box. He truly loves basketball.”

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