Landers Athlete of the Week: Alex Rivers - June 15 - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Landers Athlete of the Week: Alex Rivers - June 15

(Source: Matt Harris, KSLA News 12) (Source: Matt Harris, KSLA News 12)
CONVERSE, LA (KSLA) -

In Converse, Louisiana you'll find 12-year-old Alex Rivers working on his shot.

Rivers is a back-to-back free throw champion and he has just one arm.

"I'm not gonna sit here and lie and say I've never thought about what it'd be like with two hands, but it's not a challenge," said Rivers. 

Alex Rivers was born with a congenital limb deficiency. His left arm didn't fully form. 

"It's noticed obviously but once he gets on the court, it goes unnoticed, because of the way he performs," said Alex's basketball coach Cody Sistrunk. "He's able to do, with less, than most guys his age have and I think that is inspirational."

Beyond basketball, Alex just finished his first season of baseball.

"As much as I hate to say it, I didn't get a base hit this past season but I'm trying my best to work on that too," said Alex. 

"He's not out there to participate, he's out there to win," said Jody Ebarb, Alex's baseball coach. "He was the heart of the team. He caught on fast and there were several times where I gave him four or five game balls in situations where he helped the team win. He's one of a kind man, I've never seen a kid like him."

"Whenever I catch, I put it under my arm, take my hand out and let the ball drop into my hand and then I throw and I hurry up and put the glove back on like that and then I'm ready," said Alex, explaining how he's able to catch and throw a baseball with just one arm. 

Alex's positive attitude never wavers.

"I think I've always been pretty positive from the point that I was born," he said. 

When asked how he's able to remain so positive, Alex gives credit to those that he's closest with. 

"I have no idea. I think it's just my family, they boost me up a lot," said Alex. 

Alex gives credit to his six siblings and says his Mom, Sue Anne, is his everything.

"She's the best part of my life really," said Alex. 

"I just tell him the truth: God made us all different, none of us are all the same so you use what you have and make the best of it," said Alex's Mom, Sue Anne. 

And Alex certainly does. It's been a challenging journey for Sue Anne. 

"I have 2 handicap children and when he was born I was dealing a lot with my older son that's handicap as well, he's in a wheelchair and it was hard, we had a lot of hard years," said Sue Ann. 

Sue Anne says Alex amazes her daily, but it's not just her, Alex amazes everyone daily.

"He's just a great kid. One of my favorites. He's funny, fun to be around," said Coach Sistrunk. 

"There's nothing in his mind says ever quit. He's always gonna do it. It's nothing that can stop him, he's unstoppable," said Coach Ebarb. 

Alex has long-term basketball goals 

"Trying my best to make it to college and then the NBA," said Alex.  "If nothing else, just improve my shot as much as I can."

"He doesn't surprise me anymore. He did at first, that he was able to do what he's able to do. Now he's just another student, another ball player and I personally don't notice he doesn't have an arm anymore," said Coach Sistrunk.

"I want other kids to see him and have the knowledge to believe in themselves. That they can do whatever they want," said Sue Anne. 

Alex will continue to work on perfecting his shot and hopes to win a free throw shooting championship for the third year in a row. He's also looking forward to improving on the diamond as well. 

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