Somerset resident Michael Reed, 25, has been a dominant player on the basketball court at Special Olympics games, both in New Jersey and nationally.
His skills have earned him gold medals at state and national games—and an invitation to join legendary NBA players like Ron Harper (of the Chicago Bulls) and Dikembe Mutombo (Denver Nuggets) for an exhibition game Sunday during the NBA All Star Game weekend.
Accompanying Reed on the trip to Houston is Hillsborough resident Neil Hudes, a longtime coach for athletes participating in Special Olympics games.
"Just a really nice young man," Hudes said. "Always willing to work with the players with more severe disabilities and make them successful without anyone ever asking him."
Hudes said Reed attended the Midland School, in Branchburg, until he was 21, and now works part-time at a Stop and Shop grocery store.
He added Reed is one of 12 athletes invited to participate in the game, and the only Special Olympic athlete from New Jersey.
"This is the second year that Special Olympics and the NBA have teamed up to do this event," Hudes said. "He will be attending all of the events of the weekend (celebrity all star game, slam dunk contest, three point contest, NBA All Star game, etc) as well as playing in the exhibition."
Hudes met Reed when he joined the Special Olympics Somerset Tigers C basketball team Hudes coaches.
Reed has won gold medals at New Jersey Special Olympics games, as well as a gold at the 2010 national games.
Hudes will help Reed as he plays against the NBA legends, as well as WNBA players Candice Wiggins, Ruth Riley and Nicole Powell, and WNBA Legend Ticha Penicheiro.