Why Hansel Enmanuel Donato Should Be A Household Name

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(Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

When looking for sources of inspiration, it’s not uncommon to look towards professional sports. Whether it’s Joe Burrow coming back from a devastating injury to lead the Bengals to the Superbowl, or the Los Angeles Lakers rallying around the passing of Kobe Bryant to bring home the 2020 NBA championship. These moments resonate so deeply with fans because they are relatable. Everyone has had to cope with the loss of a loved one, or endure the hardships of rehabbing an injury. Seventeen-year-old Hansel Enmanuel from the Dominican Republic inflicts a different emotion when you watch him block shots and slam down dunks on defenders. That’s because Hansel tragically lost one of his arms in an accident at the age of six. 

Hansel Salvador Donato was a former professional basketball player in the Dominican Republic. Rarely would the pro-hooper not have his son, Hansel Enmanuel Donato, by his side. It was here Hansel Enmauel’s initial love for basketball sprung. During one of his father’s games that he couldn’t attend, he  was climbing an old concrete wall that would end up collapsing on him from the chest down. After being rushed to the hospital, he was told that they would have to amputate his arm. It was then at the age of six that Hansel Emmanuel Donato began his basketball journey. 

In 2020, nearly a decade after his accident, Donato was getting significantly better than his peers at hoops and would routinely post clips of himself playing on Instagram. That’s when his father’s former teammate and current head coach at Life Christian Academy, Moises Micael, gave him a call to move to Florida and play for his team. It didn’t take long for Donato to make a lasting impact on his teammates. 

During one of his first practices with the Life Christian Academy, the team was running a routine layup-line drill. The whole team is done with practice once everyone makes one layup. The caveat being that if you miss, you have to do twenty push-ups. You can imagine how eerily silent the gym got as Donato missed his layup. The team looked toward coach Micael, not sure how to react. Donato didn’t flinch. 

He dropped to the floor and performed twenty one armed push-ups, instilling a new sense of pride and hunger in his teammates. 

Hansel Enmanuel Donato now sits as a three star recruit, and goes viral constantly for his high flying and emphatic jams. Currently Donato has received a D1 offer to Tennessee State University as he finishes his Junior year at Life Christian Academy. Averaging 25.9 points, 11.0 rebounds, and 3.4 blocks per game, this won’t be the last offer that Donato receives to play D1 basketball. Donato plays with such a high level of intensity and heart, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the NBA one day.

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