Kevin Atlas, motivational speaker, visits PA

Fin Worrall, Staff Writer

“A little bit higher,” Kevin Atlas said to the students working the auditorium light and audio at the beginning of his speech, “no, sorry, a little bit lower.”

On February 22, motivational speaker, disabled basketball player, and inspiration to high school students all across the world, Kevin Atlas spoke in front of a captivated audience made up of students from Princess Anne, Cox, Kempsville, and Kellam.

Atlas (real name: Kevin Laue) towering at 6 ’11, and sporting size 17 shoes, Atlas is a (certified) giant. His height has helped him become a basketball player, the first ever disabled player to receive a full scholarship to a D1 college.

Atlas faced much adversity in his upbringing. He was born with half of his left arm, a result of his umbilical cord severing it in the womb. On top of this, he spent his childhood living in a wealthy neighborhood as a kid from a poor family, with divorced parents, both working two jobs. His dad died of cancer when he was 10, he had ADHD, dyslexia, color blindness, asthma, and anger issues.

However, despite these many obstacles, through hard work and a lot of blood, sweat, and early mornings, he overcame them. After being dropped by his middle school basketball team, a coach from another team gave him a chance, one which he cites as one of the most important moments of his life. That coach taught him to use his “nub,” as he likes to call it, as a weapon, one that no other basketball player could have.

He became the star of his high school basketball team as a junior, attracting country-wide attention. He recounted the story of how he was able to meet the president of the United States at the time, George W. Bush, and break his leg, canceling all of his previous scholarship opportunities, in one day.

Despite that low point, he was able to persevere, and after playing a postgraduate year at Fork Union Military Academy, he received a full scholarship from Manhattan College to play D1 basketball, as stated earlier, the first for any disabled basketball player.

Atlas has become a successful basketball player, entrepreneur, public speaker, multimillionaire, author of his own book “Get in the Game”, and a star of a Hulu TV show.

In the hour-and-a-half timeframe of his presentation, he outlined his keys to success, which he wished that he had known himself as a high schooler. He didn’t charge any of the schools for the speech, “I’m here because I genuinely care about you guys,” he commented.

The presentation was part of a 200-stop nationwide tour with Varsity Brands, part of their “Believe in You” campaign. Themes of self-discipline, empathy, and student leadership coursed all throughout the presentation. Atlas also involved the audience, interacting with Gage, the Cox football team’s QB, and Kenneth, a junior at PA.

Disabled basketball player, successful public speaker and entrepreneur, and much more, Kevin Atlas finished his speech to a large ovation. Despite all of the troubles he had to go through, he was able to pick himself up and still be successful. “The only person who can make you successful in life is YOU.”