"Basketball changed Beeri's life."
OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- At the Warriors Basketball Academy in Oakland, the gym is filled daily with the sweet sounds of basketball. Coaches teaching, sneakers squeaking and the sound of the ball swishing through the net.
For 8-year-old Beeri Avrutsky, basketball been an inseparable part of life since joining the camp several years ago.
We first met Beeri in the summer of 2022 at a Warriors camp in Thrive City in front of Chase Center where NBA champion Damion Lee lifted him to the hoop for a dunk and signed an autograph for the young Warriors fan.
How much fun do you have at basketball camp? When asked how much fun he has playing basketball, he had a simple answer.
"A lot," Beeri Avrutsky laughed.
While Beeri is a man of few words, his strength and spirit come from playing the game he loves. That determination was put to the test at an early age.
"He was born at 32 weeks, a lot of people with cerebral palsy were born premature," said his mother Raya Zeltzer Avrutsky.
At a 4-year-old, Beeri had surgery to stop his spasms and the rehab process began. Progress was slow, but when his family moved from Israel to the United States, basketball became the medicine that worked wonders.
"I think a bad attitude is the only is the only disability in life," said Beeri's father Harel Avrutsky. "What we found here in this amazing camp and this beautiful project of the Warriors Academy, first is the attitude. We are not leaving anyone behind."
To no surprise, Beeri's favorite player is Stephen Curry.
After hearing about his story and love for the team, the Warriors stepped into help. Before a recent home game at Chase Center, Beeri and his family were given special access just outside the team's locker room. Beeri along with his sister Carmi and his parents watched as the players walked in and out of the locker room for pregame warm-ups.
Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry all said hi to Beeri and his family. During Curry's stop to meet with Beeri, his mother told the four-time NBA champion that he was Beeri's inspiration to move (he couldn't walk three years ago) and that he watched training videos of him daily.
"He's a fighter, he's strong. Look at that smile too," Curry remarked.
Beeri showed his version of Curry's famous "night night" trademark celebration and after a photo with Steph, it was high fives and a moment that left him speechless.
What did Steph say to you, I asked Beeri.
"I can't even talk, (laughs)," Beeri said.
His mother put it perfectly when describing how basketball and Stephen Curry have changed her son's life.
"Basketball changed Beeri's life, I know it for sure," said Raya Zeltzer Avrutsky. From the moment he opens his eyes, he wants to play basketball and Steph Curry encourages him to improve. So that's what Steph Curry means for Beeri."
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