THE WORLD’S shortest Harlem Globe Trotter has visited a Coventry school to meet a pupil who was also born with dwarfism – and to inspire children to celebrate their differences.
Jahmani Swanson, who plays basketball for the Harlem Globe Trotters in New York, has become an internet sensation as he achieved his dreams of becoming a basketball star despite being just 4ft 5in tall.
Jahmani – also known as Mani Love and ‘mini Michael Jordan’ – visited Broad Heath Primary School to run basketball workshops with the children and meet pupil Luqman Abdi.
He also endorsed the writing of local author Kristina Gray, whose children’s story Strong and Mighty Max features a character who was born with achondroplasia, the same form of dwarfism as Jahmani.
The book was inspired by Kristina’s son Samuel, who was also born with the condition.
Her story encourages children to ‘dream big’ and be kind to others who are born different – with the message that the size of your heart matters more than your height.
She said she was excited that the children had the chance to meet a global star.
She added: “Jahmani’s visit to Coventry will encourage children to dream big, whatever challenge or difference they may face.
“Just seeing Mani achieve his dreams of playing basketball against all the odds is very motivating for young people.
“It is also so important to encourage children to have a growth mindset and the value of kindness, especially with the rise of mental health issues young people face.
“My hope is that this message will be far-reaching.”
She added she was thrilled that edition two of Strong and Mighty Max was being placed in 36 primary schools across Coventry and Warwickshire who have signed up to her #Choosekind Award scheme.
The scheme gives learning resources to participating schools to promote the value of kindness as an everyday life choice. Visit www.strongandmightymax.com/choosekind-award-for-schools for more information.