FORT WORTH, Texas — There was no game or school function, but they gathered at Paschal High School in Fort Worth to honor one of their own.
“I just got goosebumps,” said Paschal head girls basketball David Geer, when he got wind of what would go down on this day.
As basketball player Danielle “Boogie” Wilson was introduced to the crowd, she wasn’t exactly sure why she was being honored. She knew she was getting recognized, but not exactly how.
About 150 people showed up at the Paschal High School gym. Danielle's family, friends, schoolmates and teachers all came out to cheer her own.
“The thing I love most about Danielle is she's humble. She's always got a smile on her face,” Geer told the crowd.
The smile she so often displays is nothing short of remarkable when you learn her full story. Danielle has put on a brave face for years. She has earned all-district and academic all-state honors for her basketball prowess. Geer said she’s set the standard for Pashcal girls basketball.
Her consistency and productivity on and off the court are so commendable because she did it all fighting through family struggles that included a stint in a homeless shelter.
We shared her inspiring story recently and it ended up on ESPN's radar. The sports network honoring local athletes in conjunction with their annual ESPY awards. And "Boogie" absolutely fits the bill.
That's why a multiple ESPY award-winner and basketball superstar jumped at helping us surprise Danielle.
When WNBA Dallas Wings star Skylar Diggins Smith was announced as a surprise guest, Danielle was taken aback.
“It was really crazy because I love watching her play,” Danielle said. “I never thought I was would see her, meet her in person.”
But Diggins-Smith heard about Danielle’s story and jumped at the chance to add to her recognition by presenting Danielle with an honorary ESPY award.
“[Her story] just inspired me,” said Diggins-Smith. “You know I look at her and see almost direct reflection of myself, being able to excel through sports, with negative opportunity around.”
At the ceremony Diggins-Smith told Danielle directly that her story needs to be heard. Meanwhile, the crowd made sure they were heard.
While Diggins-Smith was presenting the trophy, the crowd gave Danielle an extended ovation.
“I just want to say thank you to everyone who supported me,” she told the crowd.