Participant Spotlight Part Two: Louis Craco

We are excited to share another beautiful story written by Louis inspired by his experiences at our Brooklyn Nets Basketball Clinic in honor of World Down Syndrome Day in March. We are so impressed by Louis’s creativity and writing skills. We are incredibly grateful for our continued partnership with the Brooklyn Nets. We hope you enjoy the below and will join us in congratulating Louis!

Never Give Up!
My name is Louis A. Craco III. I am a 12 year old author and a self advocate for Down syndrome. I can do these things: basketball, ride a bike, swimming, mini golf, slap jack, video games and chess.
Basketball. I am a 12 year old author and a self advocate for Down syndrome. I can do these things: basketball, ride a bike, swimming, mini golf, slap jack, video games and chess.Basketball. I like playing this sport because I do lay ups. Coach Ryan of the Brooklyn Nets taught me and my friends at GiGi’s Playhouse NYC to shoot properly. Make your right arm become the shape of the letter L. He told us to do drills and to dribble the ball between our legs. I play basketball in Connecticut at West Rocks where my mother used to go to school when she was younger. Every night I play basketball and I do 100 shots. Last year me and Poppy were playing basketball; Poppy however was sitting because he has weak balance, so it was all me. Then there were two teenagers at the court outside. A couple of minutes later, I took the leap to shoot one basket in their hoop where I met one of the teenagers. His name was Barrett, and I met the other teenager – I think his name was Aaron. When I continued to play basketball, Barrett and Aaron passed the ball to me and I passed their ball to them. After awhile me and Poppy left the court and when I was close to the car in the parking lot, I saw Barrett and Aaron playing. I said to Poppy if I could be just like them. Poppy said I was practicing, I was playing basketball. I said, I AM like them! I also want you to remember that I loved it when I was at West Rocks, and it got dark outside and that is not something you see every day. You guys out there can play basketball and when you see anyone who is playing in the same court as you make them feel welcome.
Bike Riding. Riding bikes can be hard or easy. When it’s hard to ride a bike you may fall down. A couple of years ago Poppy got a bike with three wheels. And I was riding it. When I got my helmet and got up Rainbow Hill, I pedaled it down and when I hit the brakes, nothing happened. I felt like I was in the sky falling, and my friend Roman’s house has a brick wall in front! After the fall I got the brutal achievement of blood! After the brutal fall I got back to the house with the bike. I was transformed to the hospital and I had bandages on my hand and leg. My chest was absolutely red. And, yeah, that just pains me to write about it. Whenever you ride a bike it does not matter. All people can ride a bike without falling because they have courage to keep going and don’t worry about accidents. When it comes to facing your fears you watch what’s in your way, especially cars. When I was on Poppy’s three wheel bike I was determined if I would achieve by going down Rainbow Hill. Unfortunately, all of that became brutal. I was so determined that I did not find a way of controlling the brakes within the bike, but it was too late to stop. If I had controlled the brakes none of that would happen. For the present I still have a reminder of that accident on my right leg. It is getting better and I still have a scar, not like Harry Potter who has a scar on his forehead. So does that mean I’m a wizard? (Oh, come on, this is about bikes, not wizards!) Now I am a pro at controlling the bike, including the brakes. I am also a pro bike rider with two wheels. I inspired two people I know, a terrific basketball player and a professional DJ, to ride a bike and to overcome their fears.
And remember, winning and failing are both alive! “Never Give Up!” is my motto. Keep trying!
Louis A. Craco III
August 17, 2021


  1. Richard Reilly on August 27, 2021 at 4:30 pm

    Troy Providenti attended GiGi’s first Pizza Night back in 2012. He made 7 shots in a row at the mini basketball court…and then fed the ball to PJ til he made a shot. Troy can now shoot on the court at Syracuse University. He is paving the way for Louis. Louis and Troy are mentors. They want us to know that we can be successful too, if we keep trying, even if we don’t have Down syndrome. Love! Richard Reilly – The Grandparent Connection

  2. Hannah Providenti on August 29, 2021 at 9:58 pm

    So inspiring, Louis!!

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