The American Association of Adapted Sports Programs, Inc. (AAASP) honored 43 people and organizations at the fifth annual ASPIRE Awards Celebration on Oct. 22 – including one DeKalb athlete and two community members.
The locals who were recognized for contributions to their teams and support of student athletes with physical disabilities were DeKalb Silver Streaks athlete King James McMurry and Tucker-based MLT Creative President Billy Mitchell and Art Director Matt Albert.
McMurry brought home the Most Improved Athlete award and Mitchell and Albert won Founders’ Awards.
The event was emceed by television personality Patrick Cusick and guest speaker Aaron Golub – the first legally-blind Division I athlete representing Tulane—and was held at Maggiano’s Little Italy in Atlanta.
McMurry was part of the Silver Streaks’ wheelchair basketball state title runner-up team in 2023 and has helped the Silver Streaks to a 2-0 start for the 2023 handball season.
The Tucker community members were recognized for continually supporting AAASP and disabled athletes in their community. A spokesperson said Mitchell and Albert volunteer their time each year to work with AAAS nominees to capture their stories with interviews, graphics, and other media presentations.
AAASP officials added that they received a record 59 nominations for the awards this year. The Silver Streaks also had Belinda Cook nominated for the advocacy award, Thomas Guardia and Noraa Smothers nominated for the volunteerism award, and Joe Patterson nominated for the most improved athlete award.
Silver Streak athlete Najee Smothers won the 2022 Outstanding Male Athlete of the Year Award at the previous award banquet.
The 2023 awards were announced at the event by AAASP Executive Director Tommie Storms and GHSA Executive Director Robin Hines.