Nathan Mitcham won't soon forget the night of Feb. 12, when thousands of fans crowded into a gym in Owasso, Okla., and cheered his name.
That evening the Owasso High School senior took the court for the first time, and, surrounded by an energetic crowd, proceeded to land 8 points in the game's last minutes, helping secure a 20-point victory.
As the Tulsa World reports, until that night, Mitcham, a student with special needs, had managed the team from the sidelines, content to participate without donning a jersey.
That changed when a fellow teammate, point guard Jaylen Lowe, realized Mitcham had yet to play in a game and took to Twitter using the hashtag #DressNathanOut. Little did he know that hashtag would start a movement.
"I just started tweeting about it, saying 'Nathan gets buckets and Nathan deserves it'," Lowe explained to KJRH.
The Twitter movement took off, with tweets coming in from celebrities, such as Blake Shelton and Carrie Underwood. Even Oprah joined the chorus of voices cheering for Mitcham to dress out, Fox 23 reports.
And so, on a night in February, wearing a pair of donated shoes, Mitcham finally dressed out.
His first shot didn't quite make it; neither did his second. Once he settled in and landed his first, though, the crowd went wild.
"When that first shot went through, I thought I was gonna need a box of Kleenexes," Owasso coach Mark Vancuren told the Tulsa World. "It was just an unbelievable amount of emotion that overcame me."
Two 3-pointers followed the first basket, and as the clock finally ran out, Mitcham's teammates hoisted him above their shoulders while the gym erupted in cheers.