Anthony Ianni was diagnosed with a Pervasive Developmental Disorder, which is part of the Autism spectrum.
â??Doctors and medical specialists said he's never going to be successful, never go to college, be an athlete, and barely graduate high school,â?? said Ianni. â??That was my motivation.â??
His motivation led him to play on the Michigan State University basketball team, including the 2010 Final Four team.
â??It was always my dream to play for coaches on Michigan State, and for me to actually live that experience and live that dream, it was an accomplishment,â?? Ianni said.
Now, Ianni is spreading the word about bullying and autism awareness; it's part of his Relentless Tour where he'll be visiting 659 schools in one school year to help eradicate bullying.
On Friday, Ianni visited the Kingsford Middle School and explained how preventing bullying starts with kids and their willingness to love others, have a support system, and always be reaching for their goals.
â??Sometimes Iâ??ll get kids coming up to me who just start crying in front of me. Itâ??s the bullies that go up to their victims and apologize. The thing I love about my job is that happens,â?? Ianni said.
The students were inspired by Anthonyâ??s story, and said it's helped some of them who have been victims of bullying.
â??I used to be bullied back in my old school, it sort of helped me,â?? said sixth grade student, Madison Stanley. â??I never want to be the one to be the bully; I want to be the one to stop the bullying.â??
Anthony said he hopes to continue being a source of motivation to youth, and to help end bullying in Michigan.
â??If I walk out of here today just impacting one person, that's all that matters to me, nothing else,â?? Ianni said.