I know it pisses some people off when we feature kids on ballislife. When I say "kids" I'm talking about middle school and younger and I when I say "pissed" I'm talking about Joey Crawford made another bad call pissed. So just for those people we are going to share a story about a 5 year old! But we aren't going to say 5 year old Dealo Bellaphant-Brown is the next Jamal Crawford, because he might be the next Joey Crawford (i'm kidding!).
Unlike Joey in the NBA Finals, fans and players love to see the sight of the little ref with "Boo" on his back and a head full of curly hair running along the sidelines at AAU tournaments in the Twin Cities. Also, unlike Joey, you don't have to worry about Boo making a bad call because he's not allowed to blow the whistle he proudly puts in his mouth as if he's about to make a call.
But what makes Boo's story so unique isn't just that he's a 5 year old ref, but because of his disabilities and his relationship with his 18 year old Uncle/Role Model Zach Taylor.
Via Vice Sports.
Boo had trouble focusing because of delayed sensory and speech issues, as well as a diagnosed reactive attachment disorder, which is a condition that causes children to have difficulty forming attachments to parents or caregivers because of a lack of basic comfort and caring early on in life. Boo's father, who is Zach's oldest brother, is in prison; his mother doesn't make an effort to see Boo and A'Niyah, who has some of the same issues. As a result, Zach's family has custody of him. Zach and Boo are nearly inseparable.
It seems an unusual and almost impossible task for an 18-year-old to have so much responsibility for a four-year-old and a five-year-old, but Zach carries it lightly. "My mom works nights and my dad works days so usually after school I come home and watch them," he says. "If I go somewhere with my friends, we take them with us. Me and Boo, we're pretty close. He's basically like my kid—everyone calls him my kid. We sleep together, do everything together."
Photos by Alex Conover