‘I’m able to play again,’ says Las Vegas teen basketball player shot 10 times
Las Vegas Aces motivated her recovery
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - The Las Vegas Aces have a compassionate relationship with the city they represent, and one example reveals how the power of that connection may even be strong enough to create miracles.
“I just got the news from my doctors today: I am able to play again,” said 18-year-old Aaliyah Gayles.
You might remember in April when Gayles, a basketball star at Clark County’s Spring Valley High School, was severely injured in a shooting at a North Las Vegas house party.
The USC commit and five-star recruit had been ranked number 8 in the nation by ESPN, so when she was shot in her arms and legs, it was even more devastating. Doctors were not sure if she would survive the attack, let alone play basketball again.
That is why, in April, it meant the world to her and her family when Las Vegas Aces players jumped into action to rally around her and support her recovery.
“Vegas is a tight basketball community so she’s like family,” said Dearica Hamby, a star player on the Las Vegas Aces.
Hamby and Aces player Kelsey Plum each donated hundreds out of their own pockets to help out with her medical bills.
“Hopefully she continues to stay strong and continues to hold her head high,” said Hamby.
FOX5 caught up with Gayles this week to learn her reaction to watching her champions become champions.
“Man... I was so happy,” said Gayles. “That’s the hometown. That’s the hometown, so you know it’s always gonna be stuck in my heart for real... I was so happy, like, it’s honestly like the best feeling just coming out of Vegas and they get this win!?”
On Twitter back in April, Hamby also used her popularity as a platform for supporting Gayles.
“We’re gonna send our prayers and our thoughts, and we donated financially but obviously you know we’re here in any way we can support,” Hamby told FOX5.
Gayles is now speaking out about her response to that support.
“She’s a very supportive female,” said Gayles of Hamby. “I’s crazy to me because Aces, that’s where the hometown is. And it’s just really love and support, so for her to do that, it makes me motivated to keep going.”
She said the Aces’ win will have a big impact in the Las Vegas valley for the recognition of female basketball players.
“We haven’t had that in so many years,” said Gayles.
Meanwhile, Gayles continues physical therapy to try and get the weight on her muscles back, and she said watching the Aces’ success has motivated her throughout her strenuous journey.
“It opened my eyes, cause this is what I’m trying to do at USC also,” said Gayles. “I’m a redshirt this year just so I can have a little time to get back stronger.”
A redshirt is a student-athlete who-- for the season-- does not compete.
Miraculously, however, Gayles is regaining strength and said that all her bones are now healed. It’s a recovery she attributes in part to her hometown heroes, the Aces.
“If they can do it, then I can do it for sure,” said Gayles. “So I’m just very appreciative, because that is support and love that I’m getting, and it’s just like, ‘Hey I can’t give up now, cause look how many people are watching me!’”
She added, “so hopefully next year you guys will see me back on the court.”
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