Shootin’ 3’s and not even 5 foot 3

By Tyler Burstein


The best basketball players playing today are in no way “small”. Using their skill plus their intimidating size, players such as LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers have and amazing set of skills, but it also helps when your 6 foot 6 and 250 pounds.

This doesn’t apply to grade 9 FHCI student Ryan Burstein, although he isn’t very tall what he lacks in height he exceptionally makes up for in skill.

“I started playing really young (around 7), but I got into basketball from a movie called “Space Jam.” When I saw Michael Jordan playing basket ball with Bugs Bunny I was so inspired to do what he does… play basketball” says Ryan when asked about what got him into basketball. “It turns out it was just a simple movie that got me doing what I love most.”

After convincing his parents, Ryan soon joined basketball camp and did this up until he was 10. “After lots of playing on my own time I soon decided to push my self and do summer camps for basketball. After my first couple of years at camp I joined house league basketball when I was 10.” Ryan then joined North Toronto House-league Basketball (NTHLB), during the time the players were still very small and this allowed Ryan to really be the star and end up trying out for Single A Basketball which he made when he was 9. “After playing a year on Single A I needed to push my self further I knew I could do better” which we did and Ryan then made Double A when he was 10.

“I was extremely intimidated, everyone else there was at least more than half a foot taller than me, I couldn’t believe in myself and almost didn’t try to succeed just because I was smaller than everyone else and through the tryout I learned my greatest weakness turned out be my greatest strong suit,” says Ryan, I then asked “what do you mean by you learned that your greatest weakness turned out to be your greatest strong suit?” Ryan than answers with something very intriguing, “Going in to the second tryout of Double A I realized that my height wasn’t stopping me, it was the whole reason to be pushing me forward. I figured out that instead of rushing in to the net I decided to get better at shooting where I could stay on the outside and keep helping from their. Thinking my height was stopping me it gave me the perseverance to push forward, never give up and never stop working to reach my goals.”

Ryan shows that he is just not an ordinary kid trying to make it through high school, he sows that he is an individual that has a problem he cannot fix an instead of complaining and not doing anything about he decided to take advantage of it and uses it to keep pushing forward knowing that if he gives up it will only show weakness. “Playing basketball has also given me the ability to bring my parents together since their divorce, my happiness and goals is something they both love enough to come to together and push me to do my best.” Ryan’s main reason for pushing is his own heart as he lives by one famous quote by 5 foot 4 Toronto Blue Jays Player Marcus Stroman, “height doesn’t measure heart.” Ryan then expresses his feelings about the quote “this relates to me on a very personal level and it could to others as well because no matter how small you are if you have the skill to give it your all you will succeed.”

Ryan had some very inspirational words and then got asked if he had anything else to say about his future “I would like to help people like me who want to go into sports by becoming a sports doctor to help the injured get back out there and give it all they got and if you face any problem no matter the situation (if you have ADD or OCD and can’t focus) there is always a way you could use your weakness that are holding you back and use them in a way to change the game for yourself, stay strong, stay positive, push through it and never give up”.