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One-armed basketball star Hansel Emmanuel wins high-school dunk contest in spectacular fashion

Joshua Rogers December 20, 2021
Hansel Emmanuel dunk contest parents

One-armed high-school basketball star Hansel Emmanuel has made a name for himself in recent years. The young hooper recently took part in the City of Palms dunk contest, with footage of his dunks going viral.

The 2021 edition of the City of Palms showcased some of the best young talent in high-school basketball, with the likes of Nick Smith, Kel’el Ware and Karter Knox all ones to watch.

However, it was Hansel Emmanuel who captivated audiences by putting on a show in the 2021 City of Palms Classic Edison Bank SLAM DUNK Contest.

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One-armed basketball star Hansel Emmanuel wins City of Palms dunk contest

Not only did Emmanuel put on a show, he also won the dunk contest at Suncoast Credit Union Arena in Fort Myer. The 17-year-old, who only has one arm, has broken the internet on numerous occasions, and Sunday’s event was no different.

Footage of Emmanuel’s high-flying efforts when viral over the weekend. Many people on social media were taken aback by his athleticism and dunking abilities.

Emmanuel’s upbringing and terrible accident

Hansel Emmanuel is the son of a former professional basketballer in the Dominican Republic. However, Hansel faced huge challenges as he lost his left arm when he was six after a wall collapsed on it.

Emmanuel was reportedly trapped for two hours before his dad rescued him. However, his arm was in such a bad way it had to be amputated.

“My life fell apart when Hansel’s accident happened,” his father told the Orlando Sentinel.

“I was the one with him and, when they had to amputate his arm, I felt like it was all over. But God grabbed us and led us down this path. You remember everything [from the accident] because a blow like this is not forgotten so quickly regardless of all that he is achieving thanks to God.” 

Emmanuel’s rising basketball career

Hansel Emmanuel was raised in one of Santo Domingo’s poorest neighbourhoods. However, basketball was his salvation and he quickly fell in love with it.

According to Marca, Emmanuel was invited to play at the Life Christian Academy in Florida by coach Moises Michell. The then 16-year-old went on to finish the season top of the Central Florida Christian Academy State Championship with 26 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists.

Emmanuel’s highlights and abilities have captured the attention of the basketball world, as well as the NCAA. He recently obtained a scholarship to play for the University of Tennesse State in Division One of the NCAA.

“Blessed to receive my first D1 offer from Tennessee State university,” the 17-year-old announced to his 606,000-plus Instagram followers. “Thank you for believing in my talents.” 

On the Saturday of the recent City of Palms event, Hansel played for Life Christian in a win over Fort Walton Beach. According to 247 Sports, he was “out there hitting pull-up jumpers, getting into the paint and creating for teammates and causing some havoc on defense”. He finished with 16 points, four rebounds, four assists, two steals, and two blocks.

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Joshua is a senior sports writer with over four years' experience in online writing. He graduated with a BA in Ancient History from The University of Manchester before receiving an MA in Sports Journalism from The University of Central Lancashire. He became a trending writer for a leading social publisher and later spent time covering the 2018 World Cup for The Mirror Online. He then moved to a social marketing agency where he acted as website editor. His specialties on The Focus include F1, tennis, NBA, NFL and combat sports.