RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Charles Whitaker is about to graduate from Huguenot High School, and he wants nothing more in the world as a graduation present than to hear from his favorite NBA player, the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry.
Curry and the Warriors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 118-113 Wednesday night to take a 3-0 lead in the series. One more win, and the Warriors will claim their second NBA Championship in three seasons. Curry won back to back NBA MVP awards in 2015 and 2016.
“Just a ‘Hi Charles’ on FaceTime, and that’d be it. I’d be happy.” — Ricky Whitaker
Whitaker, 20, is not your typical high school graduate. Since birth he has suffered from hearing impairment and intellectual disabilities. He was also diagnosed with ADHD as a child. He has trouble speaking, and he mainly communicates through sign language with an interpreter. Even so, Charles has made it through Huguenot and hopes to get a job after school so he can make and save some money.
“I like Stephen Curry because I like his team, and he is a good player, ” Charles said Wednesday through his interpreter Christina.
Charles’s father Ricky, his brothers Clinton and Terrell, and his mother Wendy share in caring for him, and that care has serious challenges. So much so that at one point Ricky considered sending Charles to a home or family that could do a better job caring for him. But the family stuck with Charles, and the graduation serves as a monument to their perseverance.
“I’m the father that — I was going to give up on my son,” Ricky Whitaker said through tears Wednesday. “But I said I can’t give up on him. He made me a much better man and a better father.
Ricky Whitaker is pleading for someone, anyone affiliated with Curry or the Warriors to reach out to the family to help recognize what they’ve been through and how far Charles has come.
“Just a ‘Hi Charles’ on FaceTime, and that’d be it. I’d be happy,” Ricky Whitaker said.
The Warriors take on the Cavaliers in Game 4 of the NBA Finals Friday night on 8News. The Whitakers will be watching.