Sportress of Blogitude

Five-year-old JP Gibson signs one-day contract with Jazz, takes part in scrimmage (video)

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The Utah Jazz pulled out all the stops to make Monday a memorable one for five-year-old JP Gibson, who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2012.

Gibson, an avid sports fan but counts basketball as his favorite, was signed to a one-day contract by the NBA team before he had the thrill of taking the court and playing in the Jazz’s Blue-White scrimmage on Monday night.

The team issued an official-looking press release announcing the short-term contract, in which it is adorably stated that “per team policy, financial terms were not released.”

Shortly before the scrimmage on Monday afternoon, the Jazz held a press conference at EnergySolutions Arena to formally introduce its newest player. JP was joined by his parents, Josh and Megan, along with his two-year-old sister Elsie, as the youngster put pen to paper to sign his contract with Jazz president Randy Rigby.

In a supremely heartwarming scene, JP took the court during the scrimmage as a substitution, slapping hands with point guard Toure Murray. JP was fed the ball and showing some pretty good dribbling skills, moved the ball down the court and eluding defenders before slamming home a two-handed slam dunk with the assistance of one of his teammates.

According to the official website of the Jazz, the Gibsons day was arranged by the Jazz in concert with the “Anything Can Be” project, which is “a part of the Millie’s Princess Foundation, dedicated to providing financial support and hope to families affected by childhood cancer.”

No matter how it came to be, what resulted was a great day for not only JP, but the entire Gibson family. But in the end, Megan Gibson said it made for a day that little JP won’t soon forget.

“JP loves most sports, but basketball is definitely his favorite,” said Megan. “When he was just over a year old, he would sit with my husband Josh watching games. He started insisting on shooting hoops for an hour each night before bedtime when he was just 15 months old. He knows he has to be six before he can play Junior Jazz, and he reminds us all the time that he can’t wait until he’s six.”

Great story. Kudos to the Utah Jazz for doing something wonderful for a family who has had to endure far too much far too son in their young son’s life.

(image credit: Matt Sanchez/UtahJazz.com)