13-Year-Old Leukemia Patient ‘Signed’ to the New York Knicks for a Day, Says ‘I Prayed a Lot For This Moment’


A young New York Knicks fan diagnosed with leukemia got the surprise of a lifetime on Monday when he was “signed” to the NBA team during a press conference.

Michael Young, 13, is currently undergoing treatments for his condition — and says watching the team has helped him get through some tough times.

“Don’t ever give up!” Michael tells PEOPLE. “I push [to get better] and I pray to God and pray every day that I’m blessed to see another day.”

A participant of Madison Square Garden’s Garden of Dreams Foundation week, the teen shot around with the team before their game against Oklahoma City Thunder, and hung out with point guard Derrick Rose — who will gift Michael the shoes he wore during the game.

The Garden of Dreams helps kids from the tristate area facing homelessness, extreme poverty and illness make their biggest wishes come true. For Michael, that dream was playing for the Knicks.

As an honorary team member, Michael received personalized orange and blue gear, met Coach Jeff Hornacek (“He taught me how to shoot the ball well. I squared my shoulders up to the basket where I can get a nice arc and make a shot!” he says) and led his squad onto the court as they prepared to face the Oklahoma City Thunder.

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SOURCE: PEOPLE, Rose Minutaglio