The 2012 Sports Illustrated Kids SportsKids of the Year, brothers Conner and Cayden Long, were honored at a star-studded event in New York City last night. The night also honored Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year LeBron James–but the Miami Heat star called the boys “the real sportsmen of the year.”
Conner, 9, and his six-year-old brother Cayden, who has cerebral palsy, compete in triathlons together. Conner tows Cayden behind in a raft during the swimming leg, towing him behind his bike during the cycling portion, and pushing him during the run.
In an interview, it’s clear that both Cayden and Conner enjoy their time together. “When he’s smiling and laughing, that means he’s having a good time,” Connor said.
“The one thing that makes me really mad is when people walk down the road, and say the ‘r’-word, if you know what that is. I just tell them that it doesn’t matter what he looks like on the outside, it matters what’s on the inside, and he still has regular feelings like we do. And he understands what you say about him.
If people could race with people that can’t walk, or can’t talk, or have any kind of autism — it might open the eyes of people that don’t really care about it. And maybe the people that don’t care in the past, will care in the future.”
Accepting his award, Connor said, “This is really awesome for me and Cayden to do this, because we’ve been waiting a very long time. A lot of people would think we’d never be able to do things. But we can do anything.”
After seeing a video about the brothers (see video below) at the ceremony, Duke University basketball coach Mike Kryzewski said that the two would have scholarships waiting for them at Duke.
(Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated/YouTube)
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