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October 22, 2004

Los Angeles Stars Signs ABA's First Deaf Player

From: OurSports Central (press release) - Marshfield,WI,USA - Oct 22, 2004

October 22, 2004 - Los Angeles, CA - Osei Morris, 25, was born Hard of Hearing, yet he and his profoundly deaf twin brother Adei, proudly say they are "Deaf" part of a subculture with their own distinct language, culture and history. The rest of his family is hearing. He and his brother have always had aspirations to become professional basketball players and taught themselves to play by observing the game. They always made every basketball team since little leagues thru years at Fairfax high school and at Trade Tech Jr. College but never could the coaches communicate with them. They both played briefly at Gallaudet College for the Deaf in Washington, D.C.

Fortunately for them, there was a National Deaf Basketball League they joined and further developed their talents in an environment where all the players, coaches, referees and fans were deaf. This non-profit organization was created to encourage Deaf athletes to go beyond their physical challenges in the game of Basketball. Osei Morris was the Most Valuable Player in 2004. He and his brother led their team, The South Bay Cougars to the Championships this past year.

Although he can read lips and voice some, he prefers use Sign Language. The LA Stars provides Osei with an interpreter at practices and at games and in fact, team members have already expressed interest in learning sign language to be able to communicate with him on the court better. Rudy Williams said, "Yeah, I need to learn how to tell him to set the pick in sign language!" Coach Lee says "it is great that the guys would like to learn to sign…I think it will help us not only communicate with Osei, but we can use it to our advantage on the court, where we can sign to each other with out the other team knowing what we are saying." Lee added Osei wants and will be treated like all the other players.

Ramel Rock" Lloyd who was shooting around with Osei on Tuesday said "this kid can flat out play.I think to play ball all you have to do is put it in the hole and play defense, he is just like me and the next player, and He puts his pants on one leg at a time.

If he makes the team, Osei Morris will become the first African American Deaf Basketball player to play for a Pro Basketball team in the United States. The Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community would be proud and celebrate Osei's accomplishments, just as they have for Curtis Pride, a deaf professional baseball player currently on the Anaheim Angels. Another Deaf Basketball player, Jamal Bradley out of University of So. Carolina is currently playing in overseas in Lithuania.

Osei Morris feels he can do anything but hear, and is truly grateful for this extraordinary opportunity given by the LA Stars. Coach Burrell has a heart for the differently-abled yet told Osei, he had to earn a spot just like any other man. "That's right,"

Osei signs, "I want to be a role model for other Deaf boys and girls who are told you can't do this or that, because you are Deaf. I want to show them you can."

Coach Burrel Lee & The LA Stars is excited about the attempt to bridge the gap between the Deaf and Hearing Worlds by welcoming the Deaf Community as fans.

For more information on Osei Morris or the Los Angeles Stars please visit, email, or call 323-971-9128.

Copyright 2004 OurSports Central