The Good Stuff: Brently’s Dream

Florien senior with cerebral palsy lives out dream on the basketball court

The Good Stuff: Brently's Dream

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Brently had a dream. A bunch of dreams, really.

“I asked him when was he going to put the walker down and walk,” begins Brently Miller’s father, Scott.

“He said I’ll walk when I’m 7. And the day he turned 7, he put the walker down,” Scott fondly remembers.

Brently was diagnosed with spastic diplegia cerebral palsy not long after he and his twin brother, Bailey, were born after a mad-dash to the hospital, July 16, 2000.

“I went into active labor at my home,” says the boys' mother, Melanie.

With Scott driving well over 100 miles per hour, racing to an Alexandria, La hospital, Melanie recalls every painful moment of that hour long trip.

“That’s the moment I wanted to die, I was in so much pain.”

Melanie gave birth to Bailey in the family van on the way. And when they pulled up to the hospital, Brently was yet to be delivered.

“He (Bailey) never went without oxygen because his identical brother was sending oxygen to him outside of the womb,” explains Melanie.

Melanie Miller with her newborn twins, Brently and Bailey in 2000.
Melanie Miller with her newborn twins, Brently and Bailey in 2000.

Bailey weighed only two pounds.

His brother Brently, one pound, 12 ounces.

Despite his diagnosis, Brently remained just as active as his brother through the years. Not long after ditching the walker, Brently announced yet another major dream of his.

“He told me my dream is to run out with the Blackcats,” a tearful Melanie recalls.

Brently was determined to one day play for the Florien High School Blackcats basketball team. And over the last few years, he was on the team, but in the role as team student-manager.

“I hope any other kid with a disability doesn’t stop working hard,” says Brently.

“Keep pushing every day.”

All of Brently’s pushing paid off the afternoon of January 7, 2019.

“I received a text and Brently is holding up a jersey,” says Melanie, pausing momentarily as she’s once again overcome with joy recalling that moment.

Brently Miller shooting a free throw during their January 11, 2019 game agiainst Zwolle
Brently Miller shooting a free throw during their January 11, 2019 game agiainst Zwolle

And it’s a moment the Blackcats coach, Eddie Jones, says Brently has earned.

“Brently isn’t a child that expects everything to be handed to him. He works hard.”

The moment captured on his mother’s cell phone, when the team’s introduction music is played, Brently is the first one to hit the court, leading his team across the gym floor to begin pre-game warmups.

“When they started the music and the curtain opened and he was standing there, I was trying to keep calm but it was hard. Momma was crying. My baby was running out,” says Melanie.

Just being in uniform and warming up with the team, in itself, would have made for a storybook ending to Brently’s senior year. But Coach Jones had much bigger plans for the young man who he also coached during youth sports.

With 4 minutes left in their game with Simpson, Coach Jones called timeout and put Brently in the game.

The Florien and Simpson fans both erupted into a loud cheer as Brently made his way into the game, alongside his brother Bailey and cousin Brennan.

Twin brothers Bailey and Brently Miller
Twin brothers Bailey and Brently Miller

“I won’t lie. I was saying, let me baby make it,” a smiling Melanie remembers saying to herself moments after Brently’s first shot hit the rim, but missed.

But you just knew the kid who spent the last 17 plus years trying and trying again until getting it just right wasn’t about to fade back into the shadows of the Florien bench.

Given another chance, Brently made his next shot, leaving both teammates and Simpson players clapping on the court.

“It’s a feeling I’ll never forget,” Brently says, smiling from ear to ear.

Brently officially scored 8 points on the night.

Four nights later in their game against district rival Zwolle, Brently entered the game with just seconds remaining and sunk a free throw.

“It worked out,” says Coach Jones, who is also Brently’s uncle.

“Nothing was planned. It worked out to be a part of helping a kid’s dream come true.”

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